Saturday, July 31, 2010

Do you have good amigos?

We learn our virtues from our friends who love us; our faults from the enemy who hates us. We cannot easily discover our real character from a friend. He is a mirror, on which the warmth of our breath impedes the clearness of the reflection. - Jean Paul Richter

I am blessed to have a few dear friends.

Last night a few dear friends took me out for dinner.

We had an amazing time and we stayed out till almost 2:00 a.m. - way past my bedtime.

I started thinking about friendships and what they have meant to me over the years.

My son calls it his "close circle", I guess I also have a small circle.

My friends have seen me cry.

My friends have brought me soup when I was sick.

My friends have taken my calls after they’d gone to bed.

My friends will ask why I haven't called.

My friends allow me to vent.

My friends have sought to help me.

Are you expected to always be there for your friends?

A true friend expects to always be there for you!

Be grateful for good amigos.

Make it a great dia, amigos!

Friday, July 30, 2010

How much effort do you put into Loving?

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.

It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving. - Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Do, Love and Give!

Make it a greeat dia!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Senate Bill 1070

Today Senate Bill 1070 takes effect in Arizona.

This is in effect the civil rights battle of our time.

Although immigration reform is long over due, we must and should resist playing into the exaggerated fears being provoked into the already charged situation.

I can empathize with Arizonans and their frustration with drop houses that hide immigrants in their neighborhoods and the hundreds of deaths that occur in their deserts each year.

The system is broken and has been for many decades.

Our government has the authority, the duty and the ability to create the necessary immigration reform desperately needed.

I support a path to legalization and at the core understand why migrants crossed our borders enroute to a job and a better life for themselves and their families.  

Less we forget that their labor contributed and continues to contribute to our country's prosperity.

A recent survey showed that 62% supported allowing illegal immigrants now living here to remain in the country if they had a job and had no criminal record.

Another survey showed 55% supported SB1070.

More over Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona is wrong in implying that the vast majority of these immigrants are criminals and are in our country to collect benefits or ferry drugs.

A sound immigration law that would sanction employers and make immigrants follow certain steps towards full citizenship thus channeling them through our ports of entry is needed.

We had such a program called the "Bracero Program", a bi-lateral agreement between the US and Mexico.

Between1942 and 1964 it legally brought 4.6 million contracted Mexican workers into our country to work arduous farm labor jobs.

Clearly it will take years to resolve the upcoming court battles and sort out the political and social implications of B1070's misbegotten immigration law.

I pray that we have the conviction, the compassion and will to see this resolved in a most humane way.

There is no doubt that history will judge us on how we react to what happens in the coming days and weeks - maybe months. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Who they ought to be...

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be… and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming." - J.W Von Goethe

Try trusting or believing that someone can do what they are well capable of doing, it is life transforming.

Make it a great día!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Someone somewhere...

“You may be one person to the world, but you may be the world to one person.”  - Unknown

I believe EVERY relationship counts for something.

Too often we foget that all relationships require much personal effort to keep them going strong and remaining positive.

We tend to take some of our most important relationships for granted, thinking that our loved ones should know how we really feel about them without us saying a single word.

But even our long standing, love enduring, wonderful or strong relationships can be destroyed by neglect.

Someone, somewhere is depending on you.

Don’t let them down.

If you have, then its never too late to make amends and begin rebuilding memories.

In the end - memories are all that we end up taking with us.

Make it a great día!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A smile is like sunshine...

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face" - Victor Hugo

With the economy the way it is and a lot of uncertainty and misery to go around smiling can be a great mode of therapy.

To laugh go and rent maybe even go see a funny movie... I would try and do this regularly.

Always make time to read the comic section of your newspaper... at least once a week.

Before you leave your home make sure that your face is wearing a smile.

Make sure that you laugh at least three times a day.

Once before breakfast, once before lunch and once before dinner (you'd be surprised how much better the food will taste).

You've heard this a million times but we really do need to learn to laugh at ourselves and not (over) punish ourselves for the mistakes.

I am more of a funny story teller - but always try and learn a new joke and then go share it with as many people as possible.

Laughter really is good for the soul - my younger brother and I were laughing so hard one time, that we had to pull off the road to laugh. 

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

At least I didn't die...

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." - Buddha

So I was headed to a small hamlet called "La Agua Fria" or the place of the cold water - the Opata indians and past inhabitants of these beautiful sierras called it like it was. 

Most of the surrounding villages and hamlets here in the Northern Sonoran sierras have Opata indian names.

The Opata were a Uto-Aztec tribe that had three sub tribe names like "Eudeve" or short people, "Tehuima" or iron spear people and "Jova" or the water people.

They also had names for the surrounding villages like; place where the river changes direction, place where the water is seen or one even one village named, the entrance to the place of the reeds.

There are only five "Nemutz" or shamans remaining in the sierras and three of these are also considered naturopathic physicians in their own right or "curanderos".

So I was headed to visit one of my most beloved shamans, a very noble, thin, dark-skinned and grey pony tailed man everyone calls Don Pesiquia.

 I had already told Maria de La Luz (my cousin) that I would be home late that night.

After a very difficult and exhausting three and 1/2 hour trip (I traveled less than 22 miles), I arrived at his very small adobe and pine tree home near the hamlet of "La Agua Fria".

After some joyous hugs and cordial conversation, we went out back to enjoy some of his homemade "Tepache." This is a natural alcoholic drink made of fermented pineapple peels and alot of piloncillo (suger cane).

Well after the long trip - the first glass of cool "Tepache" went down very smooth. I was quite thirsty and quickly accepted a second.

Within fifteen minutes I began to feel a bit lightheaded (as expected), but I also had a very real sense of calm about me.

We continued to remember the old days and laughed about some of the funnier experiences we had shared over the years.

Then I decided I needed a third glass and as I got up fell head first onto the dirt almost falling on Kimo his large german shepard.

Old Pesiquia almost fell out of his stool and I had never heard him laugh louder.

He stopped laughing long enough to ask me in his most serious tone, if the "Yoonighyet Estates" was making me soft... and we both laughed even harder.

We couldn't stop laughing and I finally was able to stagger over to the sacred moonshine and carefully poured me only about 1/4 of the glass from his huge clay jug.

I ended up staying and we talked into the night, as he adviced me about being kind to stupid people for they needed it the most.

He even gave me advice about marriage and that anyone who has one - should shower their mother in law with gifts to keep them away and keep the home happy.

We also talked about the on going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and he said, "If only people would respect each other's lands we would come to know peace and see that there is no good out of fighting useless wars.

Wise and simple advice, coming from a man with no education but with an incredible  gift of listening and healing.

We laid outside on a couple of cots and enjoyed the milky way, the pristine star filled skies and even observed two bright falling stars.

I really have so much to be thankful for.  

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There are no short cuts...

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills

The sierras and the dirt roads leading to my village make for a challenging off road type excursion.

The various check points - some with real soldiers and state troopers and others with men in plain clothes with AK-47s was somewhat unnerving.

Yet my visit to the village and our beautiful sierras of Sonora Mexico never disappoiints.

Just seeing and spending time with family, relatives and friends has made it worthwhile. 

Make it a great day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Disillusion that increases day by day...

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion- Barbara Tuchman

A friend of mine lost a son in Afghanistan. It was heartbreaking to hear the news. He loved his skate board and his pet turtles. He grew up into a tall, green eyed, thoughtful, caring and bright young man who scored almost a perfect score on his SAT.

I can't imagine the loss for his parents. They were initially against his entering the military, but were proud of his commitment and patriotism. They knew that in their hearts that they would support their son 100% no matter what decision he made.

Their twenty year old son had been in the US Army less than two years. He had deployed to Afghanistan as an MP or military police. He was actually training Afghanistan police cadets there.

An IED - improvised explosive device or road side bomb took his life as he and a few other members of his squad were on their way to the Afghanistan training site.

I know that this young man like many of us believed in creating a world without violence and war. That the only way to change the world is by taking action and unfortunately someone has to be there to effect it. Sadly it was another one of our brave service member - sadly it was my friend's son.

Will it ever be possible to bring about the peace that people in Iraq and Afghanistan so desperately need? That question is yet to be answered.

One must understand that Islamic extremists are not only being guided by their history. They are still enraged over the Mongolian invasion of 1253 and the ripping of the heart of Islam from Baghdad.

Our presence there today stirs religious fervor, anger and even rage. To these extremist we have invaded their sacred lands and are seen as occupiers. Our servicemen and women are seen as Crusaders. 

Al-Qaeda therfore rejoice in the loss of every American life. Victory to them is everything and their long-term view of success, is seen as their divine right.

I also understand that leaving Iraq too soon or in chaos, will be seen as a victory for Al-Qaeda. Their strategy from the beginning was to make us look bad, by creating bloodshed and chaos. They have accomplished this by playing Iraqis against each other.

Historically there has been a long-standing division between the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. Iraq could still disintegrate into an all out civil war. If Iraqis continue to fall for this and chaos becomes rampant when we leave, Al-Qaeda will spin this not only as an outright win but as a religious victory as well. 

As a military veteran with good knowledge of the Middle East, I understand the precarious existing balance of power in the Middle East. I fear the implosion of Iraq will only serve to strengthen the power of Iran in the region and place in greater jeopardy both Israel and all of the moderate Arab states friendly to the United States.

Still it is hard for me to imagine any long term benefit of making Muslims there kill each other. My hope is that Al-Qaeda will be seen as the terrorists that they are. And when Iraqis no longer have foreign occupiers to blame for their problems, there will be a negative effect and outlook on their warlord centered lifestyles.

Since March 19, 2003 we have lost a total of 5530 brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. 15% or 882 of those brave soldiers who lost their lives have been between the ages of 18 and 20 years.

I remember reading about a toast at a dinner in Washington during the Vietnam war, by the Ambassador from France. You will recall that France was not at all friendly to the USA. It was therefore surprising to hear Ambassador Andre Malraux's toast as he raised his glass and said: "I raise my glass to the only nation that has waged war without loving it, achieved greatness without seeking it, and held in its arms the most powerful weapon without longing to use it."

We have kept this solemn principles. Even though we will never be able to turn back the clock on these two wars, wars that I believe we were not meant to fight. The disillusion in not winning these wars is far out weighed by the loss of our valuable national treasure.

Today I pray for peace and for the safe return of each of our brave men and women fighting there.

Today I pray for my friend's heart breaking loss, that they may one day find peace and acceptance.

Make it a peace reflecting kind of dia. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make PEACE through tolerance.

Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you; until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire; until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy. - Napoleon Hill

I believe tolerance is respecting the diverse views, opinions, thoughts, religions and culture of others.

We can be tolerant even if we disagree with the various views people around us may have.

In many ways we are respecting the way each individual see's the world.

We therefore achieve tolerance when we begin to respect, accept and appreciate the rich diversity around us.

We can all do our part to foster tolerance by showing genuine openness, communication and acknowledging freedom of thought and religion.

Tolerance has always brought harmony to differences - to opposition.

It is a universal human right and fundamental freedom worth defending.

It is our moral duty to tolerate.

Tolerance makes peace possible.

In today's world filled with conflict... tolerance will undoubtedly replace the culture of war for a culture of peace ...

Make it a peaceful  dia!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"The trick is what one emphasizes in one’s life. We can either make ourselves miserable, or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Castaneda

My Viejita also had a similar quote, she often said, “It takes as much effort to get upset, as it does to be calm; and I’d much rather prefer to remain calm at the moment!” This as she pointed her 2 foot long tree switch at one of her boys.

Choose to emphasize your strengths today!

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are you able to LOVE...

All we need is LOVE -  that mysterious, complicated, magical, difficult, imaginary, inspirational, joyous, and immeasurable emotion. 

Are you willing to Love someone unconditionally?

Are you willing to Love without expecting anything in return?

Are you willing to Love without judgment?

Are you willing to Love without human restriction?

Are you willing to Love without limitation?

Are you willing to Love without expectation?

If you can LOVE like this than certainly someone deserving awaits your love.

Love and be Lovable!

Make it a great dia!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Los tres Tamichopas.

This is an old folk story I heard told in the Kickapoo hamlet of Tamichopa in Sonora, Mexico close to my village.

Many years ago, late one night in the hills surrounding Tamichopa in a small village in Sonora, Mexico.  three goat herders were preparing to retire for the evening after herding their goats off the mountain.

Suddenly they were all immersed by illuminating bright gold colored rays of light.

The three became frightened and cowered in fear, but soon they realized that they were in the presence of a celestial being. The night was very still and quiet and the three could hear each others’ breaths like their own.  

They anxiously awaited for some sort of heavenly message.  

Certain that whatever they heard would be of great importance.  Nothing happened. 

So they waited.  No one dared move – then all of a sudden a BOOMING voice spoke up.

"You will travel back home in the morning but first you must all gather as many tiny rocks as you can tonight.  

I will than need you to put them into your donkey’s saddle bags.  

As you herd your goats down the hills to Tamichopa in the morning it will be a great día. But you will feel both sadness and joy."

Immediately the lights went away and soon afterwards the three shared their disappointment and even their feelings of anger with each other.  

They really had expected that this mystical sighting would have revealed them the secret of finding the old El Tigre gold mine, maybe a new medicinal plant or the power to enchant a maiden.  

But NO, instead they were given the menial task of picking up a some rocks and stuffing them into their donkey’s saddle bags. What disappointment!

At first they debated on picking up any rocks period.  

"That was a stupid request," the three whispered under their breaths.  

"Why carry extra weight down to the village with us?"   

"All that extra work and for what?"  

But the vision of the brilliant light and the message of their visitor caused each one to pick up a few rocks and deposited them into their saddle bags.

All the while they each kept voicing their displeasure.

So they went to sleep and the next day they herded their goats down the hills.  

Later that day, as they were at the edge of their village they stopped and reached into their saddle bags.

To their amazement they discovered that the rocks they had gathered the night before had magically turned into sparkling nuggets of gold!

All at once they were filled with sadness and joy, just as the voice had told them.

Although they were very happy that they now had all these beautiful valuable pieces of gold they were very sad that they had not gathered more rocks when they had plenty of time and the opportunity.

The moral:  If you spend more time working hard and picking up the rocks now -- your future will then transform all that effort into great rewards.

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do you have change?

Ask yourself these three questions:

What have you always wanted to change but just never got around to changing?

Is there something you have really wanted to change but didn't for one reason or another?

Are there any ideas, goals, dreams you always wanted to achieve but haven't done so yet?

Why don't you just do them?

Lao-tzu a Chinese philosopher back in 604 BC once said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

So get going!

Start making those changes, keep hoping, keep dreaming and keep working until you arrive where you were meant to be.

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A July 16th symphonic day.

Much like playing a symphony one has to...  Listen. Breathe. Read. Synchronize. 

In the musical notation of any composition; a measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration.

Life I believe is written much that way.

It is a full symphony with many nuances and dynamics to its composition.

The music we're playing can have some "measures" filled with "legatto" played notes.

The type filled with beautiful "transitions" of smoothly played notes without any "accenting".

As well as notes arranged with "stacatto", whose combination of abrupt or disconnected notes at times interspace our composition. 

Still every "measure" of life's symphony has its own cadence and beat.

When we ignore the melody playing inside us, we stop reading the notes and quit playing the song.

We are no longer enjoying the music.

Thank God for the special people in our lives that have a way of  calling us back.

Loved ones, whose soulful chant move us to reconnect to Life and its music.

Gracias Desi, for being a part of our Life's symphony.

I am listening... Breathing. Reading. Re-synchronizing.

Make it a great dia!

Friday, July 16, 2010

You hold the key...

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." - Flora Whittemore

How are things going today? Lately we are either cruising right along and having a great dia. 

And others days we find ourselves plodding through another forgettable day.

Do you ever wonder if your life is all it could be - or do ever wish it could be a good deal more?

Are you enjoying the best life has to offer - or do you feel as if you are just getting through the day...  taking in only what you've got?

Do you sometimes feel like you've lost your fire, your drive and your passion?

Does the daily grind occasionally leave you feeling disheartened, distressed or even demoralized?

Do you often times wish your life was a little more fun, a little more satisfying?

Many times we get too set in our ways and find ourselves doing the same things over and over again.

Before long each day becomes monotonous and a repeat of the day before.

Problem is that if we allow life to lose it's zest, no doubt soon enough we will also begin to lose HOPE.

After awhile, we stop believing in ourselves and doubt that we have what it takes to get the job done. 

If we let our promise of a better day and our dreams to disappear into the twilight, we also end up giving up on ourselves. 

Don't ever allow HOPE to slip away.  

You must never give up!

Not for one moment. 

If we begin to feel trapped in a seemingly endless rut, we need to break away.

Get away from what isn't working and do something different.

Do not fear change. Do it now!

Open yourself up to new ideas, new opportunities and new challenges.

If something is not working try a different approach or a different path and see where it takes you.

You'll soon discover something amazing occurs when you do something different.

You will even become a different you.

A much happier and emotionally and physically healthier you. 

So toss the ordinary aside and start doing something differently, a new world of opportunity awaits to come flooding in. 

Try opening up to new ideas, new approaches and new ways of thinking.

Allow yourself to be free to discover the extraordinary treasures life has to offer.

Soon your life will become more meaningful, more promising and you'll have more of what you've ever hoped for.

You will begin the journey to becoming  the person you were destined to be.

Never give up on YOU!

Make it a great dia!
Never, ever give up on your goals and your aspirations.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The most important things in LIFE...

I am an early riser - and love waking up in a state of gratitude for a new dawn and ever thankful for all that I have been blessed with in my life; good health, sound mind, caring soul, my loved ones, good friends and live an overall peaceful life.

I begin my days on my knees in quiet prayer and thanksgiving. Gratitude is the most profound form of thanks one can show - for everything in our lives that is both seen and unseen. And no matter how complicated our lives may become, there are always wonderful and valuable moments co-existing there.

I also believe that we must also be grateful when we are going through tough times. Why you ask? Try and see your hard times on a gradient scale. There are always different degrees of hard times - and we can take the worst situation and find something positive.

Few people express their gratitude only as a palliative way of coping with circumstances that are either painful or difficult. Their gratefulness is shallow and disguises their true discontent and pessimism.

While it is easier to feel gratitude for positive experiences and people in our lives; to ignore situations and experiences that are "life lessons," tend to sink us into deeper pessimism A state of mind where we risk losing the ability to identify opportunities to renew our spirit.

Gratitude is an important way to start any morning. A set point our personal quest for meaning.

Gratitude has also been a natural anti-depressant. My own over the counter remedy for mild depression that helps open doors to new meaning and hope.

Gratitude has also helped me in situations where I needed to overcome the pessimist of the day. The moments spent in meditative gratitude allow me to breathe again, to laugh and find a few seconds of tranquility.

Being grateful helps push through those times of pain and motivates us in times of joy to celebrate. Being grateful teaches us to appreciate the invaluable things in our lives; family, friends, health, love, dignity.

Everything that we love deeply ends up becoming a part of us. Funny how some of us think that gratitude is equivalent to conformity. That couldn't be further from the truth... GRATITUDE helps us recognize the seen and unseen gifts around us, brings into clear focus the fuller story and is the gift that allows us to open our eyes to them.

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reminds us to reflect on our hopes, dreams, ambitions and goals.

I celebrated another birthday on Wednesday.

It made me think about the years I have lived and the memories I have made.

It made me realize that age is but a moment in time...

I believe that birthdays are purposefully created to help one mark an important milestone in time.

To remind us to reflect on our hopes, our dreams, ambitions and goals.

Funny though we end up wasting too much time on "regret."

I don't know about you but I am going to use this annual reminder to try and redeem the past, my choices, my journey and myself!

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We're at the party - let's enjoy it!

A friend wrote this on her blog and I knew instantly where she was coming from.

"Maybe life is not the party that we were expecting, but in the mean time, we're here and we can still dance....."

So much of what we experience is out of our control.

Life really is too short... so forgive often and love the one you're with.

We're at the party -  so enjoy it!

Make it a great dia!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grateful for so much...

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  - William Arthur Ward

Today like most every day I wake up and realize just how much I have to be grateful for.

160,000 of our neighbors in Mexico are not as fortunate... they have been left without shelter, food or safe drinking water going on ten days.

Hurricane Alex brought torrential rains, flooding and winds of 110mph to Tamaulipas in Northern Mexico (borders south Texas).

Hundreds of homes were washed away, thousands of acres of farm land and crops were destroyed and over 5,000 heads of cattle are missing and believed drowned.

Two of these 160,000 flood victims are very grateful to be alive.

Lizbeth age ten and her nine year old sister Lesli Gaona Trevino miraculously survived the flooding.

They were separated from their parents when their father tried to drive their family over a bridge across the Pilon river.

Their car was washed away, drowning their parents along with their fifteen year old sister in this very tragic accident.

What is amazing about this story is that these little girls somehow survived the accident by clinging to the branches of a fallen tree.

There in the rushing water they clung for their lives through three days and four nights...  cold, hurt and without food.

They said that they took turns saying the "Our Father" to each other as they waited anxiously for someone to come and rescue them.

These little girls are a testament to their incredible Faith.

They will need a lot of support to get them through this horrible tragedy.

But today all these 160,000 amigos could really use our help.

Donate what you can...  but please do it today.


Make it a better dia (for our amigos in Mexico).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'd rather live a life of catastrophic failures...

"It is infinitely more exciting to live a life of catastrophic failures than a life of could-haves, should-haves and would-haves." - M.H Meng

But sometimes, mixed in with those catastrophic failures... it'd be nice to get a few wins.

Make it a great día!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Donate - LIFE... before the rains.

Imagine for one second - that your charitable contribution is so valuable that it will save a life.

Try to imagine how rich and uplifting it will feel to be a part of that!

Now THAT feeling is "true prosperity!".

The rainy season is coming and torrential rains will soon downpour on Port-au-Prince, its residents remain vulnerable not only to the drenching but to the ailments that are sure to follow like fever, cold and pneumonia.

"ÒMen anpil chay pa lou,Ó" is a Haitian proverb which means, "Many hands lighten the load."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Don’t waste precious time waiting on the salt shaker...

Many years ago in a small village in Mexico a turtle family decided to go on a picnic.

The Sanchez turtles, being naturally slow about things, took seven years to prepare for their outing.

Finally the Sanchez turtle family left home looking for a suitable place.

At last during the second year of their journey they found an ideal place by the Bavispe river!

For about the next six months they cleaned the area, unpacked their picnic basket, and began to make themselves comfortable.

They soon discovered that they had forgotten the salt shaker. A picnic without salt would be a disaster, they all agreed.

So after a lengthy discussion, the youngest turtle was chosen to go back home to retrieve the salt shaker.

Although he was the fastest of the slow moving Sanchez turtles, the little turtle whined, cried, and wobbled in his shell.

He agreed to go on one condition, that no one would eat until he returned.

The rest of the family grudgingly consented and then the little Sanchez turtle departed back home.

Three years passed and the little Sanchez turtle had not returned.

Then five years turned into six years... then on the seventh year of his absence, the oldest Sanchez turtle could no longer contain his hunger.

He announced that he was going to eat and begun to unwrap a sandwich.

At that very instant the little Sanchez turtle suddenly popped out from behind a tree trunk and shouted, “See! I knew you wouldn't wait. Now I am not going to go get the salt.”

Don’t be a Sanchez turtle – don’t waste precious time waiting for others to live up to your expectations.

We must never be so concerned about what others are doing that we forget to do the very things we could do for ourselves.

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Go out on a limb...

"There is no failure except no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, nor really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose."  - Ken Hubbard

Enough said.

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am really sorry Gerardo...

Many years ago I was taught a lesson at someone else's expense.

My Father who was a very quiet, formal and disciplined man and I were walking to the only store in the village.

There they sold everything under one roof from pinto beans to gasoline to hard candies to envelopes.

From our home it was a pretty straight path to the center of town where the Samaniego's store was.

To get there we had to go by a run down saloon ran by a short and round old tough woman called Petra.

There was a man of about thirty years of age walking away from the entrance to 'El Sobaco," (why on earth anyone would name a bar "The armpit" I'll never know).

My Father had always spoke strongly against drinking and how bad it was for us.

So much so  that no one in our family dared to drink even a beer in front of him or God forbid ever came home drunk... ever.

This one afternoon Gerardo had just made it out of "El Sobaco" and we were a few feet behind him as he staggered along.

My Father whispered, "See what drinking does to you?"

"All drinking does to makes one do and say ignorant things. Things that you will later regret and also makes you defenseless," he said sternly.

He then ordered me to go up to Gerardo and push him.

"Push him?" I remember being very confused, for my Father was also against violence of any kind. But I went ahead and did what I was being asked to do.

As we walked approached him, my Father motioned me to go on ahead.

I hesistated but then walked up behind Gerardo and called out his name.

As he turned around to face me I said nervously "Buenos Dias Gerardo."

Then I remember closing my eyes and running towards him and I pushed him as hard as I could up close to his chest... I was no more than eight years of age.

"Oooff!" he said loudly. Gerardo's eyes opened wide in shock and he yelled a lot of profanities my way, as he went flying off his feet and on to the dusty Avenida Insurgentes.

I froze there in shock as he laid flat on his back in the middle of the road.

I remember my Father quickly going over to Gerardo and helping him to his feet.

He then apologized profusely for my incredibly poor behavior.

I stood there confused and wondering what had just taken place.

He than took my hand once again and we slowly walked away, "See "mijo" what I was saying about drunks and drinking, even a child can beat you."

As I grew older I never drank in front of my Father and only once enjoyed a cold glass of beer before our Sunday afternoon ritual at the Bullfights (but I'll save those stories for another day). 

Over the years I had thought about that incident and wondered about Gerardo.

I also hoped that I would have the opportunitiy to one day apologize to him in person.

Gerardo is now an elderly man, very thin and dishoveled and still staggers everywhere he goes.

I told him the story and he surprised me when the only thing he asked for was a hug in return.

I gently hugged him and told him how sorry I was for having pushed him to the ground many years ago.

He said he didn't remember ever having been pushed by a little boy and laughed as he told me "These days I don't need much help to fall off my feet."

This made me think about FORGIVENESS.

I believe that there isn't anything more confining, contstraining and all consuming then refusing
to forgive someone.

Even though forgiveness takes strength and moral courage.

Forgiveness challenges us to give up our negative thinking and allows us to see the possibility of a very different situation and the possibility of a better future.

Forgiving is daring to visualize a better tomorrow.

Forgiveness strengthens us.

Forgiveness builds our confidence and allows us to survive the situation and grow from it.

Forgiveness can end our mental and physical state of separation and will change misery into
happiness in a matter of seconds.

Forgiveness means choosing to let go and to move on.

Forgiveness is the ultimate form of love within the context of a personal conflict.

My Viejita was all forgiving - she reminded us never to forgive because we thought we had to, because a forced forgiveness was a selfish and worthless act of self- interest.

Forgiveness is freeing!

Forgiveness releases us from being imprisoned by our own negative judgments.

Forgiveness is not surrendering to someone but a conscious and personal decision to quit resenting them.

Anger and resentment she would say, "was like poison in our body."

Forgiveness therefore she explained, "was the medicinal cleansing that our bodies needed to be healthy."

"Furthermore anger and resentment," she would say, "were poisons, that if left inside of us would cause more illness and continued pain."

She said we should always look for ways to forgive.

"How else can we take in the poison and expect someone else to die?"

If anyone that had offended us didn't realize they had; they would more then likely go on with
their lives and we would be the only ones left to continue to suffer.

Forgiveness cleanses our soul of the resentment, anger or pain that not only affects us directly but often those around us.

Forgiveness helps us make peace not only with our perceived offenders but with our past.

Forgiveness and forgiving others is a very complicated process, one that involves our deepest sense of decency, empathy, humanity and wisdom.

Only through forgiveness will we experience true change and real personal growth.

I too have to make other amends on this day - my birthday.

Will you join me in forgiving someone today?

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stop and feel the unseen.

Do you ever wonder why we naturally tend to fix our eyes on what we see and not on what is unseen?

Why some of us even place high value or treasure what may not be long lasting?

What if we were to seek to see and do what was truly important to our journey each day? 

Thereby saving our sight and hearts from what is not.

Why would we choose to procrastinate on rewarding ourselves?  

It is never to late to realize that what our eyes see is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.

Here is to a much more satisfying and grateful journey.

Make it a great day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Love begins with you...

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.  - Mother Teresa

I love Mother Teresa and her writings. Her writings are so honest. They always speak of forgiveness as the best way to overcome pain.

How sad it must be to live in a home where one has allowed differences to grow and heartache to tear at its very foundation.

How sad it must feel to be lonely and unloved within the same four walls.

I personally do not believe we need a therapist or a counselor to show us how to love.

I believe healing begins at the point in our lives when we begin to accept ourselves as we are.

We begin our own journeys toward love, by being kinder and more loving to ourselves.

When we begin to believe that we can love ourselves, believe in ourselves and trust ourselves.

The journey to love begins within us - we must be the seed.

We must continually water our souls with positive self affirming thoughts and forgiveness.

We must look for every opportunity to nourish our spirits with acts of kindness and goodwill.

Soon it is easy to let someone get closer, to allow them in - to love and let our love grow.

We must recognize that all along it was some unresoved anger or negative emotion that kept us from loving us - and loving them.

So the first step is to forgive anyone who has hurt us...

Forgive them for any pain they may have caused.

Then quickly follow up by forgiving ourselves.

Who knows how many times we fanned the flames of anger.

When we purposely kept stirring the ambers out of spite or pettiness.

Love will come to us and our home once we forgive, accept, and nurture ourselves. 

Love will come to us and our home once we are able to forgive, accept and nurture another.

We begin the journey towards loving another when we begin to love ourselves.

Love begins...

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. - Erma Bombeck

Happy Birthday America! It's the 4th of July!

I love the 4th and what it stands for. 

George Bernard Shaw once said, "Liberty is the breath of life to nations."

I also believe that with our liberty and freedom, come responsiblities that implore us to never tire from defending it.

Thinking about Erma's quote made me also reminisce about what I have seen in other countries.

Each country I have ever visited or lived in throughout Europe and in the Americas, puts on a huge military display on the anniversary of their own independence.

Yet we celebrate ours with simple family gatherings and picnics.

The only show of muscle is when we lift a hotdog or a slice of watermelon to our mouths.

The only semblence of an artillery piece is the 4 inch pipe that once it is lit, propels a beautiful array of fireworks into the evening skies.

I love my United States and I love celebrating its birthday every year!

Make it a great 4th of July dia!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lesson on RESILIENCY by an old goat...

I was reading some a few old letters my Viejita wrote me the other night. They got me thinking about some of the stories my Viejita told us. One that came to mind was a story on shaking our burdens off and never giving up.

We all face changes and challenges, so I hope that my Viejita’s story will remind each of us about our own personal resilience.

My Viejita had a great sense of humor. She always added a bit of humor to her lectures. Some of her stories were a bit farfetched. Then again giving advice to nine boys who didn’t always feel like working, had to be captivating. She had to connect with us or a lot of the “lessons” would go in one ear and out the other.

One day she told us a story about Don Damasio the village Juez (Judge) and his old CHIVO  which is a Spanish slang word for goat. I remember we all fell over laughing and almost in unison shouted, “Now Madre, what does that have to do with us not wanting to go back to work for that evil Don Trini (the wealthy village baron)?.”

She gave us the “look” and spoke only one word… LISTEN! She began again, “Well one day Don Damasio’s curious old goat was peeking into his old well and as it looked into the well it lost its footing, slipped and fell head first into the well.

It was the old dried up well with almost no water. The goat, she said fell with several loud thumps! Soon it was inconsolable and cried and screamed louder with each passing minute.

Don Damasio who was not far away cleaning his fingernails with an old nail, heard the strange echoing commotion, but couldn’t tell right away where it was coming from.

He finally realized it was coming from his old well. He quickly put his nail cleaner in the brim of his hat, straightened it just so and scrambled over to the well and looked in… “Aye Dios Mio! OMG! How did you get there?"

"Now what are we going to do?” He spent the next few minutes scratching his head and trying desperately to figure out what to do.

He tried calling out to the old goat. “Aye mi cabrito pendejo," (we screamed with laughter to hear our Mother cuss)! "Por que? Oh my, my little stupid goat! Why?” He then ran and got a long rope, made a noose and tried lassoing the old goat. The old goat didn’t like the idea of the noose and would quickly sway his head away from it. Nada… nothing worked.

After a while el Juez came to the sad conclusion that the goat had met his destiny. After all he was always eating something…his carrots, his lettuce, his rose bush, and once even his only pair of church socks. Thinking back that day had almost been the end of the dear old chivo.

Don Damasio usually wore leather sandals with thick tire thread soles – that is except on Sundays for church when he wore his prized black socks and shiny patented leather shoes.

Don Damasio didn't know what to do. He kept wrestling with a the toughest decision of his judicial career… even trying to convince himself by thinking, “He is an old goat anyway... or the well has needed to be covered up for a few years since it had gone dry.”

He even looked up to the skies as if to find an answer. He slowly made the sign of the cross, took his dusty hat off… placed it on his heart and shook his head. The jury was in... it was decided… it just wasn't worth spending a lot of time and effort to save the old goat.

He ran over to his neighbors Don Alfredo and Doña Esperanza and asked them for help. They needed to rush over to help him with his dilemna. So the three elders grabbed their shovels and soon began to shovel dirt into the well.

The old chivo somehow figured it out... "Dios mio!," he must have said... for he soon realized what was happening and now he really began to howl. "How could they do this to me? I hadn’t been any worse than my fellow chivos – maybe except for the smelly black socks?"

But the dirt kept flying. They kept grunting and shoveling more and more dirt down the well and most of it on top of the old goat. The old goat just knew the end was near. His wailing got louder and louder and more desperate in tone!

But then suddenly, to everyone's amazement, there was no noise coming out of the well… the old goat had finally quieted down.

Don Damasio looked at his neighbors, and then made the sign of the cross and said, "Gracías a Díos! Thank God! No more suffering."  A few more shovel loads later and still more silence…

Soon Don Damasio’s curiosity got the best of him. He motioned to the others and then all three leaned over and peeked down into the well and had to say, “Y’jole!”  They could not believe their own eyes.

The old goat was doing something really amazing. As the dirt would hit his back he would simply shake it all off and take a step up. "That my chivo!" Don Damsio exclaimed. 

The more dirt Don Damasio, Don Alfredo and Doña Esperanza shoveled down into the well and on top of the old goat, the more he would shake off and take another step up.
Hours passed and the old goat kept up with the shovelers.

Pretty soon, everyone was even more amazed as the old goat’s horns and big yellow almond eyes could be seen peering up… he kept taking huge springing jumps.  

Then somehow he had jumped up high enough to balance himself momentarily on to the edge of the well. And for a moment he teetered there... and quickly vaulted over Doña Esperanza's hunched back and bounced off a few feet away.

He then stopped turned as if to thanks the trio of shovelers; shook himself off one more time and then leaned towards the ground as he stretched his back.  He took one more look with his big yellow almond eyes at the shoveling trio and then pranced proudly off.

My Viejita ended her story with – “Uno nunca se da por vencido”… “One must never give up.” She added “Life will shovel dirt on you… all kinds of dirt. But if you are to succeed, you have to be able to shake it all off and keep moving onward.”

I think that what she meant was that we all have an innate ability to get out of the toughest situations. That even if we get a lot piled on us, we must remember that the only way out - is to never quit trying, and always shake it off and keep stepping on up!

Today and forever remember this old chivo's story... and never give up!

Be tough... be resilient... shake it off and step up!

Make it a great dia!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rich and poor kids...

They say EVERYTHING in LIFE is relative...

Which ones are the rich kids and which ones are the poor ones?

Could you tell the difference?

In the cities our children are unable to be left alone or without supervision. We don't even feel safe allowing them to play in the near by parks alone.

In the sierra Madres the kids play from dawn to dusk, without ever worrying about any harm coming to them.

Our children spend a lot of time indoors stuck to the TV or the internet on computer games, with little opportunity to enjoy some physical activity outdoors.

The kids in the sierras play a lot of outdoor games - kick the can, baseball and soccer and marbles and horseshoes to name a few... no play stations or Xboxes anywhere in sight.

Our children may have one or two pets that they are responsible for and what a great gift they are to have.

The kids over here have many pets; a horse and a donkey and even a calf, as well as dogs and cats or parrots and I have even seen a raccoon in one home too.

Our children have local YMCA pools where they can go swimming during assigned hours and certain days of the week.

Here in the kids of the sierras do not have swimming pools, but what they do have is a beautiful river with sparking clear waters, and cascading falls with large cliffs to dive off from. It's also open for swimming twenty four - seven.

Our children have lit streets with high reaching candelescent lighting.

Here the night skies have a million stars and a big glowing moon over head to light up the kids' surroundings as they play.

Our children have a back yard that reaches to the fence line a few feet away.

The kids here have large beautiful gardens and pastures as far as the eyes can see.

Our children eat a lot of processed meals like sandwich meats, hotdogs and chicken nuggets...  on the run and re-heated in microwaves.

The kids of the sierras eat organic raised vegetables and fresh cooked meals, which are heated over mesquite fed wood stoves.

Our children live sheltered lives protected by dead bolts and alarms and very tall fences.

The kids here live in homes that have but a single door latch and whose sense of protection comes from the friendships of all their surrounding neighbors.

Our children are connected to their friends through their texting and cell phones... as well as Xboxes, AOL and Facebook.

The kids here are connected to Life; the sun, the skies and the water, and to their animals, friends and families.

It's all relevant.

But I have to ask which are the rich kids and which ones are the poor ones?

Have a great dia!