Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 is coming to a close...

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."  - T.S. Eliot

Adios 2009, Adios! 

It has been a challenging year for sure.

This past year has been filled with sadness and loss for my family and I.

In some cultures suffering is considered noble.

For me not so much, especially enduring our Viejita’s painful loss.

Yes, I am glad 2009 is finally coming to an end.

I am probably not the only one that might feel that way – we all have our own

personal reasons i.e., the down turn in the economy, new job challenges, 

relationship issues, losses to our 401Ks, higher gasoline prices,

even job losses etc.

There were so many reasons, what are your reasons?

Are you into New Year’s Resolutions?

I have never been into New Year’s resolutions and I'll tell you why.

I believe you either go out and "do" something or you "don’t".

It is all about personal accountability.

But one thing I am doing Friday is anxiously welcoming 2010 as a new beginning, 

a new start – my New Year.

The question is will we be "holding on" or "letting go" of the hurts, pains, frustrations,

troubles or challenges of the past year?

I definitely intend on “Letting Go!”

In my experience I have never been Happy when I have allowed anger,

pain or unresolved issues to remain stuck inside me. 

My Viejita’s advice was to always purge hurtful or unwanted stuff out

of our hearts and lives!

By saying Adios to a situation or person whose relationships we were ending

or had ended.

If we are to take advantage of this "NEW BEGINNING", then we must all be

ready to say goodbye to that “something” that we no longer want

or need in our lives.

When we say goodbye to that “something” or that “someone” we are permitting

a better “something else” or improved “someone else” to take their place.

My wish for each us in 2010 are that we create many opportunities for

POSITIVE CHANGES to our lives, enjoy a deeper sense of PEACE,

attract more abundant and unconditional LOVE, live HEALTHIER LIFESTYLES,

LAUGH more and have the HAPPINESS and the PROSPERITY we all work

for so hard and deserve.

Tomorrow brings a new day and the beginning of a new year...

and words that await a new voice. 

FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How can you shine through today?














I was driving down the street the other day and saw a beautiful

stained glass window at a local church.

It was purely magical with the sun reflecting off the windowpanes.

As I drove past, I realized that we are all like those stained glass windows.

We too shine with the light of day, but it’s only by our inner glow that we reveal

our true inner beauty once darkness sets.

Here's hoping today brings you many opportunities to shine.

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How much are you expecting to give?













“LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give ... which is everything.”   - W. H. AUDEN

The word LOVE in this quote is so interchangeable. I saw it and it made me smile.

You could replace it with the word "success" or even the word "housework" and still read the same advice.

It’s all about what we are expected to GIVE, in order to receive all we can expect to RECEIVE.

Make it a great día!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Coexisting... with GRATITUDE.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.

They must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

Are you allowing your LOVE to be felt?

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A sharing lesson.











Our cardinal "Harry" was in the garden this morning.

He comes each morning to feed himself.

This morning was different. He would pick up some seeds with his tiny beak,

and then fly to his new mate who was perched on the top edge of the fence.

He would then gently feed her and quickly fly back to the ground and pick up

more seeds and return.

He did this for several minutes - what an wonderful lesson.

Made me really wonder; if these tiny creatures can feed one another 

with just a little extra effort - why then with all our resources around the world

do people have to go hungry? 

No one, anywhere should go hungry.

Please help feed our kind, give to someone less fortunate,

or to your closest food bank!            

Be GRATEFUL you aren't depending on someone to feed you today.

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Looking out my window a day after Christmas.










CHRISTMAS is now 364 days away… so many things to do

before than.   

Maybe rekindle that FRIENDSHIP   you've been putting off –

even if it’s through Facebook.   

Practice   FORGIVENESS and dismiss a suspicion and

replace it with trust. I am sure there is someone out there that misses you -

send an e-mail or better yet write them a letter.   

People go through hard times, each of us to a varying degree... 

ENCOURAGE someone who is questioning their FAITH.   

Have you told yourself or someone you would do something? 

Hold that PROMISE true no matter what. 

Arguements have trivial beginings.

Forget that petty grudge.   

I at times find myself wanting to keep things orderly. 

Examine your demands on others and decrease them. 

Be generous of your time... Volunteer.

It's an investment in someone's future.   

Stand up for a personal cause.

Fight for justice and PRINCIPLE.  

Express your LOVE to someone, "I LOVE YOU TODAY!"  

We have so much to be thankful for.

Express your GRATITUDE in as many ways as you can.   

Seek to BE in a GRATEFUL state and LIVE a GRATEFUL LIFE

these next 364 days.    

Make it a great dia! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad Amigos!



















I LOVE CHRISTMAS! It has been my favorite HOLIDAY my entire LIFE.

I BELIEVE CHRISTMAS is meant to remind us that we're here

for something much bigger then ourselves.

CHRISTMAS isn’t about tinsel and lights, Black Friday sales

or commercial displays.

It's about BELIEVING in a GREATER PLAN.

It’s the precious REALITY of a GLORIOUS and BEAUTIFUL dream in each of us.

Make it a point to keep sharing the CHRISTMAS story, singing the CHRISTMAS

songs and living in the CHRISTMAS spirit, so that we can in our own small

way add to the JOY, HAPPINESS and PEACE of those around us.

CHRISTMAS was my Viejita’s favorite time of the year.

She always reminded us that the best gifts she could receive were

not found around the freshly cut four to five foot tall pine tree.

The best gifts she would say were having her FAMILIA home,

and our HAPPINESS and GOOD HEALTH.

She made sure to instill in all of us that the two other important gifts

we could give one another were the GIFTS of TIME and AMOR.

Two inexpensive but otherwise important and valuable ingredients

for a truly FELIZ NAVIDAD.

My wish for you and your loved ones, is a CHRISTMAS

filled with a lot of FELICIDAD!

I hope we continue to show GOODWILL to one another,

that our actions always be plenteous in MERCY, filled with FORGIVENESS,

and that we always feel the spirit of LOVE, of GRATITUDE and HOPE.

That you and our loved ones be BLESSED with the true spirit of CHRISTMAS

throughout the coming year. 

FELIZ NAVIDAD AMIGOS!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Eve thought.










For nearly 2000 years we’ve celebrated the birth of a baby in an obscure village,

the child was born to Mary. 

This precious SON born in a stable in Bethlehem in poverty and simplicity,

forever changed our world.

HE worked as a carpenter until HE was thirty years old and then for three years 

HE was a traveling preacher.

Yet HE never wrote a best seller.

HE never ran for any elected office.

HE never purchased a home.

HE never married.

HE never went to college.

HE never set foot inside a big city.

HE actually never traveled farther than 200 miles from where 

HE was originally from.

HE never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness.

HE never had any credentials...

only those HE stood for.

While HE was still a young man, the public opinion turned against 

HIS teachings.

HIS few friends distanced themselves from him.

One of HIS followers turned him over to HIS enemies.

HE went through a mockery of a trial.

HE was sentenced and nailed to a cross; 

HIS cross set up between the crosses of two others – they were thieves.

And as HE was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property 

HE owned on earth, and that was HIS ragged coat.

When HE was dead, 

HE was laid in a grave that a friend had lent.

Many years have come and gone since HIS celebrated birth,

one still shrouded in mystery and legend.

The day that an angel uttered, "PEACE on EARTH, GOODWILL to MEN!"

And throughout the more than nineteen centuries, this Christmas baby,

has been busy balancing heaven and earth.

Reconciling disputes and conflicts.

Bringing justice where ever injustice reigns, shedding light

in the darkness of lives, making dreams realities,

and building PEACE on EARTH.

And though PEACE lately seem distant with a world at war and many

innocents dying each day in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

With a world filled with grief and sadness, disease and death.

We must not forget that GOD is there as HE is right here,

in the midst of all these things occurring around us on earth.

Eternally hopeful that our FAITH will show us a glimpse of the heaven

that awaits us all.

Let this Bethlehem baby born so long ago be reborn in our own lives.

HE was made real a long time ago.

HE is made real today, in my life, in your life,

and in the lives of all who believe.

A baby sent to bridge our earthly journey,

and our future home in heaven. 

May we continue to BELIEVE, learn to follow HIS examples,

seek to live as HE lived, to LOVE as HE loved, and to SERVE as HE served.

For when we take HIM into our hearts, when HIS way becomes our way, 

when we allow HIS truth to touch us… then GOD is made real in us.

This CHRISTMAS bring your loved ones close, treasure your family,

reach out to your friends, your colleagues and neighbors,

and let's celebrate HIS birth! 

May CHRISTMAS always be a reflection of your values,

affections and traditions.

May we always be filled with GRATEFUL thoughts,

be more FORGIVING and ever APPRECIATIVE

of all the GIFTS we have. 

Make it a FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just two more days...












I can’t believe it’s just two more days till CHRISTMAS.

We all have so much to be GRATEFUL for this year.

I am the most GRATEFUL for having more time to enjoy all the people in my life ...

my loved ones, all my friends, my colleagues and my neighbors.

May this NAVIDAD bring you lots of LOVE, HAPPINESS, PEACE,

ACCEPTANCE and UNDERSTANDING to your lives.

I believe we each decide what direction we choose to take in our lives.

I also believe that there is a tinge of destiny involved, but we are given many options...

so which road we take... or what direction we choose to journey

onward is our decision.

My wish for you this CHRISTMAS is that you always travel the most gratifying,

and fulfilling road.

Make it a great FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kindness is what kindness does.



                                                        







A small act of KINDNESS no matter the value, is worth much more than your 

greatest intention.

I also was taught to be the kindest to unkind people,

my Viejita would say that they suffered in need of 

KINDNESS the most.

Make it a great dia! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

We can end up happier and healthier IF...













I read that research done by R.A. Emmons and M.E. McCullough

in 2003 showed that, people who were encouraged to express

GRATITUDE reported feeling HAPPIER,

more excited and JOYFUL, and a clear majority even had fewer

headaches and colds.

I sat and thought of just how LUCKY we all were – some more than others.

The important point is to be able to look for opportunities to remind

ourselves just how “LUCKY” we really are.

One great way to approach this; is in your personal LIFE and your WORK,

and by your simple GRATITUDE.

Remembering that in the big scope of things, we're not entitled to either –

that they are both GIFTS.

I can’t imagine myself not being able to work, to serve, and have meaning to another...

that would be truly unfortunate, and unlucky.

Yet we are all LUCKY in many ways – and should be GRATEFUL

for the opportunities that we're given each day to see just how much.

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu beautifully said...


Mother Teresa (1910-1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was a Roman Catholic nun

of Albanian birth and founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self- centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of having selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build it anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do it anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Powerful words...















There’s nothing more powerful than saying THANK-YOU.

Make this a special day and show your appreciation, praise someone... give thanks!  

Make it a great dia!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Positive change...

Life is an empty vessel if there is no GRATITUDE.

Only by being GRATEFUL can we unlock the bounty in our lives.

GRATITUDE can turn what little we have into much more. 

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Viejita's Fable.


















I honor my Viejitas memory today to rejoice in her departure.

You got a little ahead of us and we will one day be reunited.

Te vamos a extrañar.

My Viejita was a very funny woman and a great story teller –

a tiny lady she was always able to convey her strong messages by her use

of funny and entertaining stories.

I remember I was about 10 and we had gone out (way before day break,

like we did once a week) to cut and gather wood.

We would get our four donkeys fitted into their special wooden saddles.

They were specially fitted for carrying stacks of cut fire wood.

The wood came from the pine trees at the base of the nearest mountain ridge.

The trip there usually took an hour and a half to get there, roughly two hours to cut,

and load the wood and than almost two hours to get back.

But this morning everything went wrong with my older brother Rudy’s grey,

and brown colored donkey… “Cuquita” (Koo Key Tah) who got startled

by small pine cone that had fallen and hit her on the head.

Cuquita began to bray loudly and then started kicking wildly in every direction…

round and round, all the while Rudy kept trying to get close to her to get to her reins.

He almost had her a couple of times but she shoved him to the floor with one

of her spinning kicks.

Then all of a sudden she stopped and off she ran down the same dirt path

we had all just come from. In her gymnastic chaos she had ended up

scattering every piece of the wood we had loaded,

and tied down on her back.

My two other brothers and I (we are nine boys),

were slightly in front leading our own donkeys when the ruckus began,

and we couldn’t help but laugh and make fun of Cuquita,

and her "jinete," what a sight it was!

We all watched as Cuquita kept bucking and circling round and round...

my oldest brother, all the while trying to keep

his old straw hat on and his dignity in place.

He ended up chasing after Cuquita, screaming, and cussing the whole

time and trying desperately to get her to stop.

In an instant they were both out of sight, disappearing around the bend

into the woods leaving only a cloud of dust and a hundred pieces of cut

wood scattered in every direction.

By this time we were all rolling on the ground laughing our hearts out…

so hard that after a few minutes our stomachs ached.

But they also ached for some freshly made flour tortillas, and delicious

potato and egg breakfast that we knew awaited us back home.

So we didn’t give it much thought and back home we went.

Each time one of us even sneeked a peek at one another we would

start laughing all over again.

Our donkeys would just look at us and wondered who were

the bigger jackasses.

The visual was priceless.

As soon as we walked through our courtyard headed into the small corral,

we looked over towards the kitchen and saw our Viejita standing there.

She looked like she was counting and then she began wiping her hands on her apron.

We looked at each other not knowing what we were going to say.

“Donde esta su hermano y Cuquita?”

The story wasn’t as funny now.

We knew immediately that we had let her down.

She looked at us with her piercing brown eyes, her frown was intense,

and she shook her head and then quietly said,

“You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

“You should be embarrassed that you failed miserably at working together today.”

“Did one of you not stop think that by helping with Cuquita,

you’d be helping us all?”

Later that week the four of us had to go back for one load of wood.

Since three loads would not be enough to last us through the entire week.

But later that day as we gathered for lunch our Viejita told us a story….

“You all know old man Virgilio Cuevas that lives in La Cienega?

We all nodded in agreement as we ate our caldo de res and freshly made tortillas.

Well a few years ago, he and his first wife Socorro had just gotten home from

going into town.

They brought in a small package about the size of an apple,

and set it on their table.

A tiny grey mouse that lived with them, peeked from his mouse door,

and looked up at the old man and his wife as they unwrapped the small package”...

“I wonder what could be wrapped up in there?

Maybe its a piece of sweet piloncillo.”

The little grey mouse wondered out loud.

“Aye Caramba! NO puede ser!” The little grey mouse was devastated

to see it was a mousetrap.

So back through his mouse door he flew and he ran as fast as he could

out the other side of the wall into the corral.

He was yelling all the way… "Hay una trampa en la casa!

We have a mouse trap in the house!"

The chicken scratched the dirt a bit and gave out a cluck…

then lifted her head and said,

"Mr Ratón, I understand that this can have very grave consequences for you,

but no implications for me.

So I am sorry, but I can’t give it any thought."

A little dejected, the little grey mouse turned and scampered towards

the old pig and lamented out loud,

"Hola Señor Marrano, there is a mousetrap in the house!"

The old pig felt a little bit of pity and looked over and said,

"I am very sorry indeed Mr. Ratón, but there is nothing that I can do

but pray for you.

That I’ll be sure to do tonight, is I’ll say a little prayer for you."

The little grey mouse couldn’t believe his ears and so he ran a few more feet,

and then looked up at the big brown and white colored cow.

 “Señorita Vaca, there is a mousetrap in the house!”

The big brown and white cow stuck out her long big pink tongue,

and then slowly licked up around her right cheek and up and over her right

eye lash and then looked down at the little grey mouse and spoke in her

typical matronly best,

"Lo siento, Mr. Ratón. I do have pity for your situation,

but it just doesn’t affect me."

And with that, the little grey mouse turned and slowly walked back to the house,

quite dejected and sad but now ready to confront old Virgilio and Socorro’s

mousetrap all by his little self.

That same night there was a loud metal sounding SNAP!! CLACKITY CLAP!

It was heard throughout the whole house…

it sounded a lot like the sound of a mousetrap trapping its prey...

Old man Virgillio’s wife Socorro ran over to see what the mouse trap had caught...

and in the darkness, could not see what it was and went to grab it.

But there in the mouse trap was the tail end of a large rattlesnake that had gotten

caught in the trap.

The snake was pretty upset and hissed and then lashed out and bit the old man

Virgilio’s wife right on her hand.

Old man Virgilio came running and seeing what had happened finished killing

the snake and rushed Socorro and the snake in the mousetrap to the village Doctor.

The Doctor did all that he could to suck the venon out but the poison from

the “cascabel” was always deadly.

He ended up sending them both home to rest and to make sure to keep

Socorro’s hand elevated.

Giving her fresh cow’s milk every hour and a cold wet cloth on her head.

But her temperature rose and rose and she shivered and moaned.

To help Socorro feel better and overcome her fever, old man Virgilio decided

to make her some home cooked chicken caldo.

So he took out his sharp axe and went to the coral looking for the main ingredient.

The next day Socorro was still very ill and many of their friends and neighbors

came to help care for her and a few of the women stayed several days.

To feed them all old Virgilio decided he had to cook some pork chops.

Poor Socorro just wasn’t getting any better and kept suffering from her

poisonous “cascabel” bite.

Sadly that very next day she died.

Soon everyone came to pay their respects. So many neighbors came

to attend Socorro’s funeral that old man Virgilio had to sacrifice his favorite

big brown and white cow to have enough meat to feed all of the visitors.

The moral of this story my Viejita said…

“The very next time that you know that someone close to you is facing

a significant problem and you think that it doesn’t affect you,

remember old Virgilio’s story!

 “Whatever threatens one of us, can easily affect all of us!”

Make it a thoughtful dia!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Give thanks.



















Feliz Cumpleaños nuestra querida Viejita!

I have found that by looking for the good in any situation,

allows me to feel a sense of release... a sense of peace,

no matter the circumstance.

It gives everyone and everything new meaning.

Nothing nurtures the SOUL more that GRATITUDE.

Simply appreciating someone or something in our lives attracts more

of the things that we APPRECIATE and value.

It's easy - do it more often.

Today I thank my Viejita for being an amazing Mother, confessor, confidant, 

and friend -

it's your birthday today!

Que nos dures muchos mas.

Feliz Cumpleanos Viejita!

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Endless supply of currency.

My Viejita always taught us the importance of being grateful. 

She said that the poorest of all people were those who had 

NO GRATITUDE in their hearts.

GRATITUDE she said were GOD's "pesos" given to us to spend. 

They were currency that in LIFE we would have an endless supply of.

Spend some of your pesos today!

Make it a FELIZ DIA!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dreams do come true.











 We DREAM so we can explore Hope, have a quiet place to escape to,

and visualize a much brighter outcome to our current situation.

Our dreams actually have a way of sustaining and enriching our lives.

But we must BELIEVE that nothing in our life is beyond redemption.

Not even our greatest regrets.

And certainly not our dreams.

We must reach deep and find them...  and remember the joy they brought us.

Give your DREAMS a voice, let them emerge, let them be.

Expressing our dreams is the first step towards realizing rhem.

What all do you have stored away?

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Light one another.








You'd be surprised what appreciation and gratitude can do to ignite another flame. 

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

LOVING is FORGIVING.










Nothing worth doing is ever completed in our lifetime –

 therefore we are saved by HOPE.

Nothing true, beautiful or good makes complete sense

in any immediate context of history –

therefore we are saved by FAITH.

Nothing we do, however virtuous can be accomplished alone –

therefore we are saved by LOVE.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend

or foe as from our own –

therefore we are saved by the final form of LOVE, 

which is FORGIVENESS. - Reinhold Niebuhr

I have always loved Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr's quotes.

His SERENITY PRAYER is my all time favorite.

My Viejita was a very gentle and loving woman.

But she was always teaching us about family unity, working together,

and watching over one another.

She taught us about FORGIVENESS.

She would say that we had to embrace FORGIVENESS,

if we expected to be forgiven.

With eleven children lessons in FORGIVENESS began with simple rules 

like showing patience to one another.

Another rule was Tolerance, which was expected between

each family member.  

Two simple rules that today make all the difference in my day to day

interactions with others. 

One other lesson that has also stuck with me all these years; 

is that by holding a grudge, we create resentment in our heart. 

Yet by FORGIVING and "letting go" of any resentment, we will not only have

Peace in our hearts but we will find HAPPINESS in our lives. 

By FORGIVING we are learning how to LOVE.

Make it a great dia!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happiness = K (knowing who you are) x D (discovering what matters) x T (not tolerating what's not important).

It's easy to live a LIFE of "I'm going to be happy when...." 

always searching for something,

chasing the next desire or even the next dream.

But I've never known HAPPINESS to be something that just happens to us.

Happiness is always inside each of us - its there now. 

We just have to allow it to surface.

Make it a FELIZ DIA!