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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

goodplandrawing

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.

 

Filter Mania

There is an epidemic going around the world; a vanity epidemic! It is filter mania and it’s not just women who are doing it anymore. Please understand that I am not talking about makeup or makeovers. I am speaking about social media photo filters.  I used myself as an example above. The picture on the left is filtered. The one on the right is the real me. I’d like to start this post with a little story from a long time ago.

God world

God created the earth and everything that dwells upon it. It took him six days to do all of this and after each creation, he claimed that it was good. But there was a special day, that sixth day when God created mankind and all the living creatures of the earth, and as he looked it over, he saw that it was “very” good. Genesis 1&2

adam eve

The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and in the garden he placed man and woman.  The man and his wife were both naked but felt no shame. The snake entered the garden and tricked the woman into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The man and woman felt shame and hid. The Lord God called to the man and asked him, Where are you? The man answered, I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid. Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? The man blamed the woman and the woman blamed the snake. Genesis 3:1-24.

1 devil whisper

And here you are today; listening to the snake again. But if you take the time to prayerfully read the story of creation along with the story of Eden, you will hear God speaking to you: “Who told you that you are ugly?” Somewhere in your life was or is a snake that has convinced you that you need to use filters to make yourself look like someone you once were or someone you never were. Stop listening to that snake and start listening to God. He created you in His own image and when he did so, he looked down and said “very good!”

wrinkled hands

Growing old is just a fact of life and in the journey of life that God has given us we will encounter a few obstacles that get in our way, some that will create scars; physically and mentally, and they will show our age. These are the things that we try to cover up with filters. I have features that I don’t like; some that I can control, such as my weight, and some that have happened through time, like wrinkles. But in those wrinkles, scars, and grey hairs, there are stories that go along with each one, stories about my life and some of the lessons that I’ve learned. We all have stories to tell and sometimes it’s those outer characteristics that tell part of our stories.

fake

Another reason that I would encourage you not to use filters is that it is giving the people who view it false information. Let’s face it, some people are all about looks and that is what they are looking for, a good looking male or female, and when you post a picture that makes you look flawless and when people see you in person and realize that your social media pictures are completely different from what you look like in person, it can lead to insults, heckling, mocking, and possibly violence. It can be embarrassing for you and the party involved. Be honest, be proud, for you are a child of God and he didn’t make junk. Those types of people who are looking for others based on looks only will eventually find out that looks aren’t everything.

be yourself

So the next time that you take a nice selfie, post it; don’t filter it. Show the world that beautiful person that you are and don’t attach a “tag” to it like “unfiltered.” Just post the real picture and let the world get to know the real you.

Until next time, buen camino!