Tag Archives: Our Life

Who Determines Our Path?

By Michael Armijo

 

While driving one day, I noticed a young man sitting on a park bench. You could tell he was in despair, the way he was just sitting there, staring at the ground.  He looked like he had given up.

The man was wearing a muddy shirt, dirty tan pants, a large trash bag that he used as a backpack, and a pair of almost unrecognizable tennis shoes. His hair was filthy and matted, and he sported an untrimmed beard that looked as though it had been chopped in sections with a dull pair of scissors.

He sat there as though he had no place to go.  His head hung down; his eyes seemingly entranced on the ground. The scene reminded me of a small child, bored, thinking he didn’t have a friend in the world.  I could see hopelessness and sadness in this man’s demeanor.

As the cars sped by on the street, the man got up and walked in a slow-paced journey to nowhere. Had he stepped into oncoming traffic, I would have been horror-struck, but not surprised.  It would have appeared as though another tragic life had ended without a cause, without a clue, and without a care.

He didn’t look angry, but had he been I could have imagined him attacking.  Why not lash out at society if you don’t care what happens to you?  Why not “get even?” This is a sad logic, but as one who watches the news, its today’s reality.

As I looked at the man, I wondered if society had failed him; but how much truth does that hold? How responsible is society for the ones that are lost? I believe we have to ask ourselves, who determines our path?  Who maps out our life? We’ve heard so many excuses about responsibility through blame and denial that we allow ourselves to label our lives as dysfunctional.  And then we wonder why we turn out differently than others.

After the experiences I’ve had in life, I now believe we are the creators of our own destiny. We determine where we go, who we are, and who we become. After pointing the finger at society for too long, we need to take responsibility for ourselves. HOWEVER, I will add that as parents, we ARE responsible for providing an honest and fair life, a loving and caring environment, a responsible and healthy example, and a thorough and extensive education for our children. Of course, we shouldn’t condemn ourselves if our children do not turn out the way we had hoped.  As human beings, there comes a point in time where we need to look ourselves in our own eyes and say; “I honestly did the best I could, with no regrets.”  Why wish for the chance to do things over, when that is not a possibility?  You can only change who you are right now, and move forward doing your best.

I believe that there will be a day of judgment. And on that day we will be forced to look into our own souls and really see who determined our path.  So to that young man on the park bench, I hope you are happy with your path.

 

When I Wake Up

By Anthony Saude

Every day when we wake up, thoughts rush into our minds at an almost frightening pace. For some, those thoughts are sadly centered on the negative circumstances they may be experiencing in their lives. Still, for others it is quite the opposite; their thoughts are centered on the positive things happening in their lives. If we were to look at the state of our country we would have to assume that most are doing the negative thing.

I am not going to lie, when I wake up in the morning their is about a 50/50 chance that I will be doing the positive thing. (See how I just did the positive thing there) I am working on it but my first thoughts can be focused on the negative stuff. Even though I know for certain, that is not a productive way to start my day. I have been known to tell my kids that you can have a good day or a bad day it is your choice, which one do you want.

The goal I am after is that when I wake up, I would have my first thought to be: I am just glad I got to wake up again today. If we can accomplish that, it seems that positive thoughts should more easily follow throughout our day. Every day is a new day that the Lord has made for us; what we do with that day is a choice that we need to make. This type of thinking will take practice but like I always tell my kids “practice makes perfect”. It will take time, energy and intentionality to change negativity to positivity.

When we wake up we get to go out and see if we can’t figure out a way to make somebody’s negative day a positive day. With the state our country is in today, chances are that person could very well be a person or persons that are living in the very house you call home. Let’s start there tomorrow and see where that takes us.

What Can I Do?

By Anthony Saude

What can I do is a very common question for myself and others. I have found that there are seasons in our lives when we are always asking it. There is always an answer or answers to this question whenever I ask it. Sometimes the answers make a lot of sense until I say them out loud. Most of the answers, if I stop and think, are very self serving. What can I do to get more money? What can I do to stop being sad? What can I do make that person like me? What can I make them understand my feelings? What type of life will I have? What can I do to get what I want is usually the theme. When I really think about what my motivations are when I have a decision in my life I realize that MY feelings are 95% of what I am considering when seeking an answer.

A situation or circumstance can drastically change how we look at our lives. This change can be for the better or it can send us careening down a never ending dark hallway. We will inevitably always come right back to the same old question, “what can I do?”

Our attitude can make a vast difference in how it will affect our life and the lives of those around us. Very often we are not in control of circumstances in our lives but we can control our response. If in that moment we understand that truth and ask, “What can I do?” Does it mean there is nothing we can do if we can’t control the situation? No, it means, we don’t have to worry. We can control our behavior by not taking our feelings of frustration out on those around us. We can show grace. Give comfort to our loved ones that need it. We can forgive and forget. We can stop thinking with our emotions and start thinking with our brains. We can run to towards somebody instead of running away?

Sometimes “it is what it is” is just simply the truth and we can’t do anything to fix the situation or circumstance. That is an ugly truth that myself and many have and will struggle with throughout our lives.  So, the next time we ask ourselves “what can I do”, maybe the correct question  to ask is “what can I do for you?”

 

The Carpenter

By Michael Armijo

 

I received an email a while back that has always resonated with me.  I find myself thinking about it from time to time, as the words it contained often remind me to work hard and be proud of what I’ve accomplished.  It has encouraged me to continue to keep my heart within my work, as you never know what life will bring you. It is good advice, no matter who you are or what you do, and I share it with you now.

The Carpenter:  An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife and extended family.  He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The employer, who was sorry to see his good worker go, asked if he would build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you for all of your hard work and dedication.”

The carpenter was shocked; what a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we’ve built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently. But we cannot go back.

You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. “Life is a do-it-yourself project,” someone once said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow. Build wisely, and remember:  Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like no one is watching. Enjoy life like it’s your last day on Earth.

Beautifully Balanced

By Michael Armijo

I remember watching an Oscar nominated movie where two characters discussed a life impacting situation: “There’s one in a million chance we’re getting over that fence” the main character said. “Then there’s a chance” said the other.

When I think of this story I am reminded of special human beings who hold a philosophy which mirrors this special scene. People in life who have been filled with short comings and tragedy, high hopes and failed expectations, but throughout: their lives are filled with hope.

It’s interesting to see people constantly try to survive in a world that seems unprepared for them. People who continuously hand out pieces of their heart in an attempt to help others, and in return, the world continually hand those pieces back in the form of heartache.

I’m not sure what gives them the motivation or the energy to get back up after being knocked down so many times. After being told “no” for asking the simple question over a thousand times: “will life ever love me?”

It takes many years of a life of abuse and neglect to distort a human being. But it only takes a moment of pain to give that life away, to other abused individuals. To give your life back into a system that has tried to destroy you. To surround yourself with dysfunctional human beings that may make you feel at home, but will ultimately destroy you and your young children.

So to avoid the norm, to avoid what’s comfortable to this type of life, and to better yourself and your children, is admirable. Especially when you keep trying to make the right decisions, over and over, only to find your background had distorted your ability to see clearly. But something inside keeps allowing you to pick yourself up from the consequences. Even after you know it’s wrong: after you know you’ve once again sought out individuals who are harmful to you and your family. You pick yourself back up, try your best to repair the damage, and then move on, like a carefree gypsy on a quest to survive.

So I applaud you, those who keep “surviving”. I applaud you because I see myself in you: I understand the struggle.

Yes I am speaking to you. And you. And me. And them. We are a family of life challenging and life changing decisions. And we are survivors. But if we look into our common core, we will find that we are beautiful people. With beautiful spirits. And we are simply like heroes of life: we overcome and learn to be beautify balanced.

 

Death Is A Gift

By Anthony Saude

 

Just a short while ago I was talking with my wife about my relationship with death. I told her I either have a very healthy one or it is totally dysfunctional. At my age most people have had a fair amount of death and sadness in their lives and I am no different. Even when I was young I always had a delayed reaction to death. When everybody else was crying and sadness would overtake them I was almost indifferent to it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry at all. I just cried a lot less and, usually, not until I was at the gravesite and the coffin was being lowered into the ground.

For years I thought there was something wrong with me. I carried around a lot of guilt and shame because of it. The age of the person always had a direct correlation with the amount of sadness I felt. To me an older person had their time and we shouldn’t be sad about their death but instead we should be happy about the time we had with them. It just sounds logical to me.

The death of a younger person would make me sadder but I was always able to focus on the good times rather than the days ahead when I would be without them. So is my view of death healthy or unhealthy? I honestly still do not know. One of the positive aspects of my viewpoint is that it allows me to be there for my loved ones during their time of sadness. However, some of those same loved ones have seen it as a little cold and even uncaring.

This world is full of pain, sadness, mean people, judgment and a whole lot of stuff that not everybody is equipped to deal with. Have I been desensitized by the cruelty of the world? Addiction to drugs and alcohol is rising at the same rate as counseling and education in the mental health industry. Suicide is at an all time high, bullying is an actual thing and the list of sadness goes on and on. I personally spent most of my life forming an identity out of self medicating with drugs, alcohol and women.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Death is sad. Especially if it is self-inflicted. But it can also be a gift. I mean what could be better than hanging out with Jesus every day for eternity? I think to myself about those people that just get dealt a tough hand in life. The physically or sexually abused children or the marginalized people of the world. We all know somebody or have heard about somebody that has lived a life of pain and sadness through no fault of their own. Jesus tells us that there will be no pain, no tears, and no sadness when we go to be with him. That is a gift that, for some, has been impossible to pass up and that is very sad. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. I love life because it is also a gift from God. To me, when I leave this world I will get to be with Jesus and that is a gift that often times seems far away. So how can we look at a world so filled with sadness and evil as a gift and not a curse? There is one answer and that answer is Jesus. He died for me and I long to express my gratitude every day by helping the people who are sad. So while I am here on this earth it is my desire to help others see the beauty the world offers instead of the sadness that Satan wants them to see. I do this by introducing them to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, who can heal all wounds. So when a person I know dies and I know that they love Jesus, I know I will miss them, but I rejoice in the gift they have been given. If I don’t, aren’t I only thinking of my own feelings? I believe that God saves some people from the pain and sadness of this world by giving them the gift of death. How can I be sad that they were saved? I ask the question again, am I broken more than most or it is it a gift from God? I will make sure I ask him that question when he decides it is time to save me from this world with the gift of death. Until then I will make sure to use his gift of life to help as many as I can to see that both life, and death, can be a gift.

 

I Want To Be In Love

By Anthony Saude

Feeling mesmerized, thinking about someone without trying.  Can’t get her off of my mind, her eyes, her touch, the way her smile lights up a room.  She makes my heart expand, it grows and wants to  be filled with the feelings that that everybody tells me about love. It always seems just out of reach; just on the other side of lonely is where I am told it is. It should belong to me, to all of us, shouldn’t it?

I am told that it is a feeling that lifts you up when you are down, makes you happy when you are sad and can even save your life. That perfect feeling that has eluded me for so many years it came and went so quickly that I barely even felt anything at all. Where does it go? When will it return?

One day it dawned on me that it would never stay for long, it is just a feeling and feelings are fleeting after all, right? Wrong. Love is not a feeling it is an action that I am responsible for showing. It is not something that I am owed by anyone or that I even deserve. Love is something that I can give every day of my life without expecting anything in return. That is a feeling that nobody can take away from me no matter the circumstance.

Love is shown in the way we treat somebody else not in the way somebody treats us. Love when given honestly and freely will always come back to us but if it doesn’t does that mean that we shouldn’t love? Are we called to be loved or  to love that is the question that so many seem to answer incorrectly. If everybody just showed love with actions all the time then nobody would be feeling unloved. How much would that change the world?

Thank you to my wife and children for showing me the difference between a feeling and an action. Love is a gift to be given and if in turn you receive it, then you are doing something right.

 

Big Boy Pants

By Anthony Saude

When I got married I knew absolutely nothing about what that would mean to me as a man nor did I want to. I would just be me and do what I do and she can deal with that. She married me, right? Men aren’t like women; we don’t think and plan our wedding or our marriage. I was once told that is like going to the Olympics and starting your training after the opening ceremony.

A lack of training is exactly what started with and I wasn’t going to change or do anything different and that was final. She was the root of all our problems, she was rigid and she needed to change not me. Funny how we want others to do exactly what we ourselves refuse to do.

One day, don’t ask me when, but I can tell you that Jesus was the why, I realized that I needed a lot of work myself. Does that mean that my beautiful wife was perfect, absolutely not? I was off the rails and in the process of leaving massive amounts of wreckage in my wake. I had no idea how to process that information and for a long time I didn’t. I decided to work on being a better father, surely that would cover the inadequacies I had as a husband. Then maybe she would work on herself and I could be right again.

One day I realized it was time to put on my “big boy pants” and start acting like a man and not a boy. I had to take responsibility for my own behavior and stop blaming her for our troubles. Wow, I sure have a lot of faults, we all do, but I only saw hers. When I looked at me I saw mine and began to see the beauty in hers. I remembered why I fell in love with her, I saw her again because I began to see me. I don’t know if she can see my “big boy pants” but I can and that is all that counts.

You’re My Favorite

By Nick Anis

 

One of the challenging aspects of parenting is NOT playing favorites with your children.  I remember when I was growing up how sad I felt that my father and mother favored my brother.  Mom and Dad bought him a bicycle, I had to buy my own.  They bought him a car, I had save up and get one myself.  They paid for him to go to college; I had to pay my own way through school.  But they again, I graduated and my brother didn’t – so I suppose I turned out to be the lucky one in that respect.

Actually, it wasn’t the “material” things that bothered me.  I was quite an entrepreneur as a teenager, and I always seemed to manage to make whatever money I needed to get any material things I wanted.  What bothered me the most was how they would heap praise on my sibling while omitting me or even putting me down.  They only time they seemed to think of me was for something negative or after they had finished thinking about and praising my brother.

You might be thinking this made me jealous of my brother, but actually it just caused me to grow up a little faster and concentrate more on school and work.  My brother and I were and still are, on good terms.  Besides the favoritism problem, my dad’s excessive corporal punishment also helped to keep me at school and work and out of my dad’s way as much as possible.

As it turns out, I’m also on good terms with my Dad.  My only problem these days is being careful NOT to repeat the same process that was so painful for me while I was growing up, while raising my own children.

When I look at my two sons, I see myself.  They look like me, and remind me of myself at their age.  I certainly don’t want them to experience and feel as I did when I was their age.  When I praise Joey (age 13) for something I make a point to also praise David (age 11).  I have a running joke with the boys, Joey is my favorite “oldest” son and David is my favorite “youngest” son.

Looking back 30 plus years ago it seems like it was only yesterday.  Rather than brood about my past, I think about the present and frequently ask myself am I being a good parent and are my sons happy?

I think having their mother and I working at home as they grow up has helped them to feel loved and secure.  At times this involved quite a bit of quid-pro-quo and we ended up having to do quite a few things in pairs.  In fact, we make it a point to periodically declare it “David Day” or “Joey Day” and for that day Joey and David get some VIP treatment as if it was their birthday or something.  In this way they can always be reminded each of them is very special to us.  It seems the only conflict in their life is a touch of sibling rivalry, which Patty and I try and keep out of unless it elevates to physical contact.

Patty and I have told our sons time and time again we will not play favorites, but I can tell from their questions and expressions each one likes to think of themselves as our “favorite.”  I honestly believe that if you strapped me up to a lie detector I would pass the exam with flying colors while telling the examiner that I love both Joey and David with the same enthusiasm and intensity and, that they are BOTH my FAVORITES.

Grass Is Greener

By Sarah Sanchez

My dad wrote a story when I was younger that was based off the popular phrase: the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. His story talked about not letting distractions get in the way of following our hearts, and that we should start watering our own yard instead of looking at the other side of the fence.

I always remembered this story growing up and tried to look at life with that perspective. But now that I’m grown and more aware of the world, I realize that this phrase applies to more areas than we think.

The society we live in is all about focusing on what we don’t have or what we don’t do. With social media all around us, we are constantly looking at other people’s lives and comparing them with our own – “Liking” what we approve of and commenting with our opinions of their statements or pictures.

We are also constantly striving for more (or better) in the workplace and at home. We want a bigger house, a smaller waist, bigger muscles, more pay, a higher rank at work, etc. Basically, we want what we don’t have. But what happens when we do get what we want? What happens when we achieve the goal that we originally set? Are we happy and content with our achievement, or do we set a new goal wanting something else we can’t have?

The sad reality is that most of the time we are not happy. We live life constantly looking on the other side of the fence, looking at the grass we don’t have and thinking that our grass is not nearly as green. Then we start seeking new grass. This is why many marriages fail, with one spouse finding interest in another person that seemed “better.” This is why many millionaires are never truly happy, even though they have more than enough money. This is why many struggle with anorexia and bulimia, because society tells us that thinner is better.

Society doesn’t tell us to go to counseling to fix the problems in our marriage, to seek happiness in things other than money, or to accept the body we have – no matter the size. Society tells us to do the complete opposite. But I think it’s time for us to stop looking at what we don’t have, to stop looking at the other side of the fence, and just water our own grass.

I Want To Be In Love

By Anthony Saude

Feeling mesmerized, thinking about someone without trying.  Can’t get her off of my mind, her eyes, her touch, the way her smile lights up a room.  She makes my heart expand, it grows and wants to  be filled with the feelings that that everybody tells me about love. It always seems just out of reach; just on the other side of lonely is where I am told it is. It should belong to me, to all of us, shouldn’t it?

I am told that it is a feeling that lifts you up when you are down, makes you happy when you are sad and can even save your life. That perfect feeling that has eluded me for so many years it came and went so quickly that I barely even felt anything at all. Where does it go? When will it return?

One day it dawned on me that it would never stay for long, it is just a feeling and feelings are fleeting after all, right? Wrong. Love is not a feeling it is an action that I am responsible for showing. It is not something that I am owed by anyone or that I even deserve. Love is something that I can give every day of my life without expecting anything in return. That is a feeling that nobody can take away from me no matter the circumstance.

Love is shown in the way we treat somebody else not in the way somebody treats us. Love when given honestly and freely will always come back to us but if it doesn’t does that mean that we shouldn’t love? Are we called to be loved or  to love that is the question that so many seem to answer incorrectly. If everybody just showed love with actions all the time then nobody would be feeling unloved. How much would that change the world?

Thank you to my wife and children showing me the difference between a feeling and an action. Love is a gift to be given and if in turn you receive it, then you are doing something right.

 

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

By Michael Armijo

 

While at the ATM drive-through, a woman straddled both lanes in a two-lane isle.  I’ve been there a thousand times and not one person has ever straddled these lanes, they just pick one.  Sometimes the line moves quickly, other times you have to wait while the cars next to you move right through.  It’s a gamble, but we make a decision and we accept it.

Maybe it was the long day or maybe I just felt short-tempered, but while the woman straddled the lanes, I went around her car, and I picked the left lane.  She got out of her vehicle and told me; “I’ve been waiting, you can’t go around me.”  I explained the unwritten policy of the drive-through ATM machine.  She angrily got back into her car and waited again.  As I drove up to the machine, I felt so uncomfortable.  I knew she never should’ve sat there and straddled both lanes, but who am I to react to her misdirection?  The uncomfortable feeling made me sick inside, I knew that I never should’ve gone around her.  So I backed up, allowed her to go first, calling out to her; “I’m sorry, go ahead of me.”  She pulled up to the machine, finished her transaction, and her last words were; “Thank you for being fair.”

I believe the true essence of being a complete individual begins with the ability to communicate.  The ability to express yourself and present issues, views, and concerns in a dignified, fair, and an understandable manner.  To simply be a human being.

Simple people do not get caught up in the unfairness in life.  They do not listen with anger and respond with vengeance.  They see light and are drawn to it.  They’re clear individuals that can respond with solutions and not just complain.  They respond instead of react.  And it’s their simplicity that keeps them humble and dignified.  Simple people see or experience tragedy and work through it and not around it.  This keeps them complete and understanding.

I also believe in responsibility.  Not to just go to work, pay the mortgage, and get the kids to school, but also to enforce responsibility inside, not just on the surface.  To not just promote a good life but to actually live it from the inside outward.  In a person’s life, responsibility also includes our jobs, our actions towards society, towards our fellow man.  Not to act like a good person, but to actually think, feel, and believe in the goodness of being a good person.

When I pulled in front of the woman at the ATM machine, I knew she was misdirected, and yet I reacted to her misdirection instead of responding to it.  If it meant that much to me to not wait behind someone who couldn’t make a decision, I should’ve communicated with her.  And if it didn’t mean that much to me, then I just should’ve waited behind her and not given it another thought.  Instead, I almost ruined her entire day, and who knows what that could’ve done to her family and friends.

I believe that we, as a society, need to remember how important and how powerful we really are.  We need to understand the true meaning of sharing experiences, applying yourself, being honest, open, and sincere.  It will bring you peace when you remember that you have so much to contribute to life, let’s not waste it on bitterness, anger, frustration, or unfairness.  Instead, let’s focus on the good things.

The power we hold within ourselves is worthless when we misdirect our hearts by allowing our minds to take over.  I believe the truest form of life is not just having the power to get your way, but having the power to help others find their way.  And when we see this powerful light that shines from within, we can capture it and allow those rays of sunshine to help our heart glow with a magnificent gleam that reminds us that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Stop The Cycle

By Sarah Sanchez 

A young girl walked down the stairs of her house on a Monday morning before school. Everyone had gone to work already except her dad.

She walked by the living room to find her dad passed out on the couch.  This was a normal view lately; he would become depressed and drink to numb the pain.  No matter what she said or what she did, he ended up drinking and laying on the couch.  So she proceeded to walk passed him as she did every morning during these episodes.

As she walked to the kitchen, she noticed her unconscious dad was holding his phone in his hand.  Then his hand moved up slowly and he grunted as if he was trying to tell her something.

She walked over to the phone and 911 was typed on the screen.  She looked up at her dad in panic and asked, “Dad, why were you calling 911?”  He didn’t answer.  She shook him and shouted the question this time.  “Dad?! Dad!” she added.  No response.

She grabbed the phone and pressed send.  The operator answered and the girl started crying on the phone.  “My dad has been drinking and he’s not responding.  He tried to call 911 on his phone so something’s wrong,” she said in between cries.

The operator told her that they would send a paramedic out, and asked if her dad was breathing.  The young girl stared at her dad’s chest in hope and watched it go up and down slightly.  She heard his breath faintly.  She told the operator he was breathing and laying on a recliner.  The operator then asked her to try to get him off the couch and lay him flat on the floor before the paramedics got there.

The girl put the phone down and as she was crying, she began to pull her dad’s limp body off the recliner. “Please don’t die,” she whispered in fear. “Please God help him,” she said as she pulled his legs as hard as she could to get him on the floor.

His body began sliding off the couch and his head slammed on the bottom cushion.  Her dad’s eyes suddenly opened and the girl shouted, “Dad!” in relief. “Are you ok? Why’d you call 911?”  A blank stare fell on her dad’s face and he didn’t say a word.

The girl picked up the phone and told the operator that his eyes were open, then she heard a knock at the door.  The paramedics rushed in to check her dad’s vitals.

Fifteen minutes went by as they checked to make sure he was ok.  Her dad was visibly drunk, but his eyes were still open and he slowly responded to the paramedics’ requests.

The young girl stood against the living room wall staring at the ground, trying to process what just happened.  She really thought he was going to die this time.

A paramedic came up to her and asked if that was her dad. “Yes,” she said, still staring at the ground.  “Does he drink a lot?” he asked.  “A week straight this time,” she responded.

Then the paramedic said three words that she’ll never forget: “Stop the cycle,” he replied.  She looked up at him with curiosity.  She saw the sincerity in his eyes, as if he knew exactly what she was feeling at that moment; as if he had an alcoholic father too.  Looking straight in her eyes he repeated, “Make sure you stop the cycle.”  She cracked a slight smile in appreciation for the advice.  “I will,” she said with confidence.

Alcoholism, addiction, abuse, dysfunction, depression; the list of pain we can endure goes on.  We cannot change our parents’ behavior or what has happened in the past.  But our parents’ habits and dysfunctions aren’t ours.  So maybe it’s time for us to: stop the cycle.

 

When Are You Having A Baby?

By Sarah Sanchez 

 

The common question asked is:

“When are you having a baby?”

Our response is usually vague:

“Soon”, “not now”, “one day maybe”

 

Or you may hear an excuse,

Of what is now priority:

Careers, traveling, finances,

These “excuses” have seniority

 

The truth? We think about babies

More than you really know

We’ve discussed names, hobbies, features

And can’t wait to watch them grow

 

We know that time is ticking,

Complications will keep rising

Longer we wait, the more the risks,

And the more eggs are dying

 

But it may not be that easy,

Conceiving may take years

Then what about a miscarriage?

See these are all our fears

 

And family are getting older,

We hope our kids meet them too

But it’s just not the time now;

There are still many things to do

 

I do admit holding a baby

Make our hearts begin debating,

If a baby came, we’d be excited

To see the blessing God’s creating

 

Announcing a baby would be great:

Having showers with all of you there

We know IF one was on the way,

You all will show you care

 

But when the baby would arrive,

Truthfully, that’s what terrifies me

The crying, changing, and sleepless nights;

Oh how different life will be

 

You see, this is what we think about,

When the subject comes up each day

We’ve talked, cried and even argued,

Asking if one should be on the way

 

So when you ask a simple question,

Like “when are you having a baby?”

Know that there’s so much more to say

Than “soon”, “not now” or “someday maybe”

You Choose

Photo courtesy: Google Images

By Anthony Saude

My wife and kids are not only the most important people in my life, they are also the most frustrating. You can ask them for yourselves about the important part but I would request you don’t mention the frustrating side. That might not go well for me.

I love them so much that I even enjoy getting up in the morning when it is still dark outside to go to work. Even when I know that it is that time of the year when I know it will be dark by the time I get home. And although I don’t like being away from them for so long, I do love the joy that I feel when I finally get home and see them.

I coached my daughter’s travel basketball team for several years. Work all week, tourney all weekend. That was my life and I loved every second of it. On occasion she would ask me “Aren’t you tired?”. My answer was always “I don’t have time to be tired until bedtime. Tired is a state of mind”. She didn’t get it then but she is starting to now that she is an adult.

Life is about choices and we can choose to have a bad day or a good day. I promise that you will have the type of day that you choose to have. We can wake up and think about everything in our life that is bad or everything that is good. We can choose to be happy or sad or mad. All are choices. We can choose to think of what we don’t have or what we do have; it is all a state of mind.

What we fill our heads with is what our actions and behavior will reflect for that day. I try to choose to be positive every day. When I feel sad I think about my kids and laugh. When I feel anger I think about my wife and feel loved. When I feel frustrated I think about starving children in this world and feel grateful for what I have. When I feel all of these emotions at the same time I think about all that the Lord has blessed me with in my life with and feel Joy.

I CHOOSE.

The Carpenter

Courtesy: Google Images

By Michael Armijo

 

I received an email the other day that reminded me to continue to work hard and to be proud of what I’ve done. It encouraged me to continue to keep my heart within my work, as you never know what life will bring you. I’d like to share it with the many readers we have, so here it is:

The Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor, who was sorry to see his good worker go, asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we’ve built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently. But we cannot go back.

You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. “Life is a do-it-yourself project,” someone has said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow. Build wisely!

Remember…

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like no one is watching. Enjoy life like it’s your last day on Earth.

It Takes A Village

By Michael Armijo

“I am not insane.  I am angry.  I killed because people like me are mistreated every day.  I did this to show society push us and we will push back.”  This statement came from a note a boy wrote in Mississippi after he went to school and open fire killing two classmates with a rifle.  “Never in a million years did I think this would’ve happened here,” a Kentucky resident said after another student open fire into an unsuspecting teacher.  Now these communities are struggling to find out why this happened and whether it could have been prevented.  Will we find ourselves saying the same some day?  How do we go about preventing this type of tragedy from happening here in our community?  Is anyone exempt from tragedy?

The recent shootings at schools and recent incidents involving students and children are on the increase and alarming.  I believe that none of us are exempt from tragedy, and I feel we need to prevent such tragedy, or at least try.

I believe the parents of these children are very much responsible for the actions of these kids.  As a parent of two children, a seven-year-old and a twelve-year-old, I am willing to take responsibility for my own.  I did not have a perfect childhood nor was I a perfect father.  But I’ve taken the time and effort to recognize how my parenting skills are and I’ve spent the last eight years trying to better myself.  Education, stronger health habits, counseling, and even forgiveness.  I’ve been there and done that.  Although I do not profess omniscience, I do know where my heart is and where my head should be.

As we’ve stated in our mission statement, this paper was designed to be a pro-positive publication that promotes education, communication, positive reinforcement, understanding, care and awareness.  We are not a forum for political power nor do we have a quest to be rich or famous.  We don’t want to change the world; we just want to change your outlook on life.  We just want to help.

In the last five months of 1997, there were four shootings, ten dead, and twenty-two wounded.  In each attack, a boy under the age of 16 was charged.  Child perpetrators that have lashed out at society by killing others didn’t develop this type of anger over night and they certainly weren’t born with it.  As a community we need to remember that it does take a village to raise a child.  I think it’s time to start watering the garden so that we can still stop and smell the roses. (Originally written in Jan 1998. How much have we, as a society, changed since then?)

When “Dad” Becomes a Noun

By Anthony Saude

When children are small being their dad is an action – simply put a verb. You will be “dadding” hard all day every day. It is our job to live like nobody else does so that our children can have a beautiful childhood experience.

There is so many things to teach them about the world both good and bad to protect their future. Everything from sitting up to running a mile and everything that falls in between those lines. Dad is a verb, we are always moving them toward their adult years. Sometimes that movement has to rapid and at others we need to take some time to make sure they get it. We help them work through pain, rejection, frustration, betrayal and even the fact that we really aren’t superman but alas human just like them. We must always be “dadding” with proper direction to navigate all of these required lessons.

“Dadding” does end or at least it should or else the life lessons we need to impart on our adult children will not take place. I know you are thinking “they will always be my baby”, I say “KNOCK THAT OFF” they are grown and now they need to make decisions of their own.

Oh, they will suck at it that is for sure but they are intelligent enough and should have had enough training from us to continue to get better at it.

We need to become “Dad” the noun just like they need to become our “child the adult”. Dad is now who we are it is no longer what we do. Do we listen yes of course, do we give advice again yes of course, but we shouldn’t tell or demand. We don’t wake them up for school; we don’t pay for their gasoline, vacations or anything that we as adults are responsible for ourselves. There is a time and a place for everything and although “Dadding” hard is very critical in your child’s life, let’s not forget that being a “DAD” (noun) is just as important to your adult child’s progression in life. We will make an impact on our child that is 100% guaranteed let’s make it a positive one that creates a much easier adulthood for them.

Heaven Is In The Sun

By Michael Armijo

Faith in God is so incredibly hard to describe.  It something you have to believe in, something that can’t be physically proven, something that you just have to say to yourself “I know He exists.”  But how do you begin? Where does it all start?  How do you convince someone that there is a God, whom you cannot see, but say that you can only feel? I believe that faith in God begins when you’re a child.  I believe that behavior is implemented when your kids are very young, and if you want your child to have any sense of God, or sense of a power greater than ourselves, it begins when they are very young children.

But one element that I believe my parents never thought of is the element of creativity. The fact that some people live their lives creatively and passionately will sometimes lead to other philosophies of who God is and how he exists in our lives. Being raised a specific religion and being taught that those particular philosophies that were interpreted by the individuals that I knew, I refused to believe what those individuals taught me about God.  They told me about the God that was revengeful, angry, jealous, and expected obedience.  To this day, I am still unclear of what this religion truly represents; I believe that what I was told was what OUR church believed, and not what the TRUE church felt.  I refuse to believe God will hurt us if we don’t obey, that He will plague our lives if we don’t do what He says, and that we must go to church out of fear instead of love. Being a creative person, I believe the philosophies of God are different.  I believe that there really is a God, a being greater than ourselves, but I believe in going to church out of love, not out of fear.  I also believe that this world is not ‘controlled’ by God, just guided by him.  He has given us the philosophies that will help us become successful with the world, the logic necessary to understand human nature and accept the improprieties that will tear at the human spirit. I believe that what we experience here on earth is here for the moment, here for our one time experience I believe that we are here for today and just as we don’t remember our last life, we will never remember our lives here when we get to the next world. What we do for today is it; this is truly as good as it gets. People get concussions or amnesia because the memories here are from the flesh, from the life we live each day.  Our spirits leave our bodies and somehow become something of a larger sense just as an egg and a sperm become. Heaven isn’t a million miles away, just a place we can’t see because we are in the human sense of life and think as a human, heaven is really very close, a huge ball of energy, a place we cannot get to as humans. The sun is too hot for our human bodies and human materials to endure, so I believe, heaven is in the sun.

He feared Gods revenge instead of feeling Gods love.

Green Eggs and Ham

By Michael Armijo

I’ve looked at society and the everyday human being, and I’ve come to a conclusion:  I just don’t understand.

I don’t understand why some people act the way they do.  They insist on playing games with others and sometimes, so adamantly, they convince themselves that life really is the misery that they proclaim it to be. They think that their position in life gives them the experience, knowledge and power to pick and choose whom they’re going to benefit.

Recently, I had an experience with someone who had the authority to make life easier for others.  On the day that I was dealing with this person, she decided that particular day was not a day that she was going to help anyone.  At some point in our conversation, she decided she would not be granting me any wishes.  Her logic was, “Too bad.”  She made a choice that because of who I am, I didn’t deserve anything from her; and I, in turn, had no choice but to suffer the consequences of the misunderstandings that were evident.

I understand that there are protocols in life, and procedures are put in place to reduce errors and increase productivity.  But I also understand that there is an immeasurable element that structure, protocol, and procedure sometimes need to take a back seat to.  It’s a measure I call “human compassion.”

We don’t always hear the answers that we want to, but “too bad” ranks right up there with “can’t” and “impossible”.  I believe it’s not what you say in life, it’s how you say it.  There is a way to communicate with kindness and integrity, and still get the point across.  When we forget kindness and compassion, we sometimes lose our spirit.

Regardless of these misunderstandings in life, I still believe in wonderful things.  At this time of year, especially, I still believe in the purest goodness of humanity. I still believe in the childhood premise of a handsome prince charming coming for his beautiful princess.  I still believe that a gentle kiss can awaken a deep and lonely sleep because of the love behind it.  I still believe in the big man in the red suit who brings toys to children on Christmas Eve.

And just like those bedtime stories of my past, I believe in happy scenarios with wish-like endings.  I believe the quite convincing Sam I Am, when he tells me that that there is deliciousness in the taste of “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Perhaps we need to believe in people and human compassion more, so there are more philosophical Green Eggs and Ham moments in our lives.