Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hope, Faith and Country...

Last night I was talking to my cousin who along with her three grown children and their families live in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua across the border from El Paso, Texas. We were discussing the horrific mass killing of 72 innocent people in the small town of San Fernando Tamaulipas, Mexico which borders southeastern Texas. She spoke of the disintegration of the family and the country's partiotic fiber of courage and resolve. 

Armida (my cousin) is a very beautiful woman - inside and out. At 4 foot 8 inches and just over 120lbs. she is a tough and courageous woman who you'll find always working around her neighborhood, to make it a safer place to live. She even started a neighborhood watch program a few months ago and with their daily donations have hired a private security service to keep their neighborhood safer. They were also able to add another layer of security by paying to have huge boulders set at the entrance of several streets off the main streets into their neighborhood.

She said their lives had become extremely stressful and that she and her children and their spouses had a daily routine they followed closely; they all call each other upon leaving for work each morning, call each other again when they've reached their offices or place of work, once again during the day and then twice in the afternoon, upon leaving their offices and again when they've reached their homes safely later that evening. 

As courageous as she is, one can sense that Armida lives in fear - no terror... a terror that on a daily basis steals her peace of mind, her sleep and has even stolen her dreams of seeing her grandchildren grow up in a happier and safer Cd. Juarez.  I asked her if she had ever thought of leaving Juarez, of moving away to a safer city in Mexico.

She quickly answered "No" and with much conviction in her voice told me why, "Tomas, I was born and raised here, and all of my children and their families were also born and raised here. Our homes are here, as are our jobs, our friends, our relatives and our church are all here.  These criminals can't and won't run us off. This is our city, our country and our life."  

I asked her about our cousin's murder and how it had affected her. 

"Roberto's death has been very hard to take, he was an amazing man and father to his children. But we must not allow his death to have been in vain. He always spoke of a better Juarez. We all want the same. I know that Life itself will be worth living as long as we have each other and together working toward a safer, more secure and peaceful Juarez. Our goal is to not give up, to continue to have Hope, show Faith in our government and the parts of society that respect law and desire a better life. We must teach our young people to live each day with self respect, dignity and courage."

We spoke for a about an hour and throughout the conversation I sensed that her conviction had plotted the course and was defining her journey.
She also said something that has stayed with me, "Living is about not giving up, it is the only way to one's own victory."

Knowing Armida as I have all my life, I know that she is relying on her own internal resources, her moral and spiritual core. What matters most to her is regaining the life once promised to her and her family. To be able to weigh down the scale, on the side of country with Hope and Faith.

I am amazed at her courage and though the situation in Mexico is dire and extremely troubling. I know that her courage flows from the heart. Whose small flow of indignation and resolve will deepen its channel and one day become a powerful spring.

I am proud of Armida and her family, as they've chosen to stay. Thousands of families have already left the city. I am in awe of their courageousness. Armida is the quiet hero in this battle. She works to contribute to the safety and security of her neighbors and her city.

Never seeking praise or reward. Armida is important in the ongoing battle to take Mexico back. I pray that she can one day see that her contributions have paved the path for a different Cd. Juarez and a different country, her country... a Mexico free of violence. 

It will take many more Armidas to one day make this a reality. I pray that Armida and the rest of my family remains out of harm's way. I look forward to the day when we can all walk safely down Avenida Juarez, like we did joyfully less then three years ago.

Make it a prayer filled dia!

Monday, August 30, 2010

What is your purpose?

I believe we are all destined to do something positive with our lives. Big or small we all have a purpose and must work in earnest to find out exactly what it is.

Some of us go through life avoiding the perfect opportunities. Others find them and squander them.

Our purpose is embedded in our DNA – tightly woven into our core intellect, ambition and determination.

To achieve our purpose we must realize that we are not in search of some mysterious map, but discovering our richly tuned compass within.

So reach deep and celebrate your new beginning!

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why cows are happy cows...


Now I know why cows always always seem happy.

Have you stopped to eat your share?

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning fun reading...

I ran into a fascinating article on famous people's names in an old Readers Digest.

Do you know who Reginald Kenneth Dwight is?

I didn't either - so here are some more of the real or given names of other famous people you and I have heard of.

By the way Reginald Kenneth Dwight is Elton John.

Paul Hewson is Bono,

David Robert Jones is David Bowie (who I saw perform once in Germany),

Caryn Elaine Johnson is Whoopi Goldberg,

Nathan Birnbaum was George Burns,

Eleanor Gow is Elle MacPherson,

Tara Patrick is Carmen Electra,

McKinley Morganfield is Muddy Waters,

Farrokh Bulsara was Freddie Mercury,

Frances Gumm was Judy Garland,

Robert Allen Zimmerman is Bob Dylan,

Demetria Gene Guynes is Ashton's better half, Demi Moore,

Marion Morrison was my favorite western movie celebrity John Wayne,

Allen Konigsberg is Woody Allen,

and finally Georgios Panayiotou is George Michael.

Make it a great dia!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Own "YOUR" truth.

I enjoy reading and last night I was reading Sophocles.
Sophocles was the second of the 3 greatest Greek writers of tragedy, one of my favorite quotes attributed to him says, "Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud."

Is it failure if you have tried your very best and somehow were not able to pull it off?

We know that more then likely someone will be there to judge your efforts...

however; next time own "YOUR" truth and acknowledge that even in failure...

two of one's most cherished charecteristics have remained intact.


One thing is certain that even in failure, it sure feels great to have one's HONOR.

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary" – Steve Jobs

I couldn't agree more.

So what's up the 86,400 number?

That is the total number of seconds we all are gifted each day.

I don't know about you but today I am doing my best to get the most out of these 86,400 opportunities.

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Awakening to a much greater potential.

So arrives another beautiful day and with it the dawn of countless opportunities to make something of substance.

However; vain will be their gifts, unless we grow in gratitude.

Lets approach each moment "open" to the generous opportunities to do good.

To be better.

Treating each moment with gratitude.

Believing in our moment.

Believing that we will accomplish more than we ever thought we could.

Make is a great dia!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tobi's miraculous return...

Years ago I had a huge white and tan colored half pyrenees, half shepard dog we all called "Tobi," a name I had something to do with naming. He was an amazing dog, amigo, companion, guardian, and official protector of our donkeys and mules. You name it Tobi was always there and up to the challenge.

Tobi also liked riding on the back of anything that moved. Whether it was on the back of the old red 6 x 14 ft. wooden wagon, our old 1945 WC orange Allis Chalmer tractor, the old green long bed D100 Dodge or just about any 2 x 4 ft. space that also moved.

Tobi worked for his keep (most of the time) around our small farm "La Pollera" or chicken coop as our humble farm was known back then. We had learned to incubate and raise chickens and never really made any money doing it because my Viejita bless, her soul was always giving our "end product" away.

One day old Tobi decided to jump on the back of a truck that had stopped at our house. What he probably didn't expect was that they were enroute to Parral, Chihuahua by way of "La cuesta del fuste" or the steep climb of the saddle south east over the sierra madres. This road was and to this day is a very difficult and treacherous unpaved climb over the sierras that divide the states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Later that evening there was no sign of Tobi. We didn't get too worried because Tobi was a late night eater. However by 8:00 p.m. and no sight of the old hound and I began to panic. My sisters and Viejita tried to comfort me saying that Tobi had probably spent the night across the river, and my brothers teased me that he had finally found a girlfriend.

Still I worried. I remember staying up all night and sneaking out every hour on the hour to the back of th house to see if my dear old Tobi had made it home.

I couldn't sleep. I decided that as soon as the sun came up I had to go look for my oversized companion. I searched all over including his best hiding places; like the apple orchard, by our hand made rock and mud irrigation canal and even up the road where his best friend Chocho a tan colored labrador lived.

I was walking back to the house and ran into a neighbor and asked her about Tobi. She told me that she thought she had seen him pass by the day before on the back of a large red truck. My heart sank - Tobi was headed to Chihuahua with the traveling salesmen. 

I remember trying to get anyone in my family that would listen to go to the Presidente's house (Mayors in Mexico are called Presidentes) and get him to telegraph the police department in Chihuahua to alert them of my missing Tobi.

No one would listen and told me that Tobi would be back soon. Even my Viejita said she would begin praying for his safe return to the Virgencita or Virgin of Guadalupe.

A few days went by and then it was a week and that week turned to two. I remember telling everyone in the village and or anyone I ran into about Tobi. Even the village priest assurred me he was praying for Tobi's safe return. I couldn't eat - even my favorite dish of chicken mole. I was too upset and was missing my good friend Tobi.

Soon the entire town knew about Tobi and his disappearance. Everyone I ran into told me that they were praying for Tobi. The weeks went by and I never quit looking for and praying for Tobi. I cried myself to sleep almost every night.

Usually I fell asleep waiting for his return on a wooden bench closest to the corral. My Viejita would always be the one to come find me and bring me to my bed. Summer came to an end but my dear Tobi never returned.

Each morning I would awaken and the first place I would run to was to look and see if Tobi had returned. Sadly Tobi was never on his old blankets that sat on top of the straw bed I had made for him.

Summer came to an end and Tobi was still missing, but he was never absent from my heart. I remember I was over at Tia Tencha's house one day when Yoyi came running in and was screaming, "Tobi has returned! Your Tobi is home!" Everyone in the house cheered.

I ran as fast as I could to my house and saw a big truck parked next to the barb wired fence in front of La Pollera. I was screaming "Tobi, Tobi aqui estoy! Tobi, Tobi here I am!

I looked for him in his bed and he was not there, disappointed I ran to the irrigation canal. I looked all over and he was not there. Out of breath I then ran to the apple orchard and thought I saw him laying under the shade of one of the trees.

Yes, there he laid!

I ran over to Tobi and as he saw me, he ran towards me - we jumped on each other, rolling on the ground and I remember he lapped and licked me from ear to ear. I held him close, putting my arms around him tightly and telling him how much I loved him and had missed him.

I didn't even bother to scold him. I was just so happy and grateful to have my old amigo home.

That summer brought a lot of people together. Tobi's leaving caused a lot of people to talk to each other and pray for a common goal. And when Tobi returned everyone was grateful he had made it back home.  

To this day I appreciate every change in my life as gifts, that deepen my sense of gratitude.

There is so much we all can be gratefule for - even when experiences that may not on the surface appear to be positive ones.

Make it a grateful dia!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking back on my way forward...

Recently I came to a friendship crossroads.

A friendship of more then 20 years (with a fellow military vet) began deteriorating.

It dawned on me that this long term relationship had been pretty one sided and had traces of toxicity.

Strong words to describe a once warm and enduring friendship.

My Viejita always taught us that choosing our friends was very important because we would be judged by the friends we kept.

That if we sincerely wanted to have good friends we needed to raise our standards.

The sad realization came up recently that this friendship was no longer a viable one.

That I needed to demand more of myself.

I had already asked myself how much value I placed on the friendship and would I be willing to lose it and more importantly at what cost.

Being a realist and more logical than emotional, I proceeded to write down all the things I could no longer tolerate about this friendship.

I listed everthing I would accept and the things I would not.

Especially focusing on the list of things I would no longer tolerate.

If the outcome was one where the negaives outweighed the positives, I would have to have the talk. 

Unfortunately the decision was in front of me.

I saw that my friend had long ago made the decision for me.

We met over breakfast and discussed the past - my friend could not believe what he was hearing.

No apology expected and none was given.

We shook hands and parted ways.

I remember one of Helen Keller's quote, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

On this trip I'll have to walk in the light.

Another wise piece of advice my Viejita once gave me and I had forgotten, "We all teach people how to treat us."

Make it a great dia.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inspiring leadership.

I read somewhere that "Motivation is when you take hold of an idea. Inspiration is when the idea takes a hold of you."

I have to admit I have lived a great life. One spent over a 30 year span in servant leadership positions.

A life blessed with many great "people" opportunities and experiences.

From leading troops and I mean the military kind, government employees, young students, sales types, health experts, social workers, older professionals, scientists (some really intelligent and others too intelligent fo their own good), political novices and dinosaurs.

The one thing I learned was not waste my time trying to motivate anyone to do anything, that they did not want to be doing in the first place.

I learned how to get to "really knowing them", by understanding what motivated them and then helped them direct that energy towards bringing out their best efforts and talent.

No one can instill motivation - but a smart leader will be able to find where it resides and will know how to best channel it.

Forget motivation - INSPIRE.

In the end you will find that the journey will be truly satisfying and a success filled one for everyone involved.

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Success is a giant puzzle.




I am not sure where I read that but it is applying to the my latest endeavor.

It is at times hard to define SUCCESS.

If we can break it down to the "puzzle" level it is easier to see.

SUCCESS requires all pieces fitting together.

Can you see how you complete the puzzle?

Could you be more Consistent, Collaborative and Cooperative?

Can you Contribute, Coach or Champion?

Are you Committed?

An ounce more of effort and we can be all these things.

We are all an important part of LIFE's puzzle.

Make it a great dia!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time to find your new livelihood.

I have always enjoyed what I have been blessed to work at.

I take the approach that if I am to do anything, I first want to do something that will bring me satisfaction and two that I can do it with "Corazon" or heart.

"Work" as a word almost seems negative - so what I reccomend you do is to translate that into "livelihood."

"Livelihood" sounds so much more positive and inviting.

I have even had a couple of jobs (I must admit that I have been blessed to have only held five in thirty years - three if you count the mergers of two of these companies) that I felt were vocations.

Jobs I was called to do - where my inner voice called me to doing.

What are you doing at the moment?

Are you settling for a career devoid of satisfaction and joy?

Why would you choose to not follow your heart's desire towards a more satisfying life?

What path would you take if you were to follow it?

Today you must begin the day by listening for clues to where your inner voice is directing you to.

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Tio Arnoldo.

It stole my Tio Arnoldo’s loud jokes, laughter and bright smile.

He woke up early one morning to get his cup of black coffee but he had problems walking. Looking in a mirror the left side of his mouth was drooping. He also had problems seeing out of left eye because it was not cooperating. Now all it could do was open itself half way.

Without an advanced medical facility in the village to properly diagnose his medical situation, it was left up to a young fifth year medical resident Dra. Alma to identify and diagnose the cause.

The Dr.’s diagnosis was as expected – the known assailant was a stroke. Now mind you - my uncle has always been a tough old man and yet I could see in his eyes a sense of despair.

The stroke had also affected his brain and his speech and his entire left side of his body. The stroke’s damage was evident and displayed itself cruelly.

As the months have passed the damage seemes to also have spread, Tio Arnoldo’s body seemes to have shrunk; his once strong wrists and leather tough fingers are now thin and delicate as stalks of wheat.  

His beautiful smile of once pearly white teeth, is now no more then a smirk. He always had small legs, “piernas de pollo” or chicken legs, I would tease… but the stroke has made them even thinner and much smaller.

Tio Arnoldo’s house was once a large military stockade with its high ceilings, rustic wooden beams and 2 foot wide walls. He has collected a lot of wooden chairs in all sizes, all hand crafted and numerous wooden benches of pine and oak with at least a dozen elaborate leather and silver studded saddles laying about, many antiques reins and boot spurs… some which had seen much better days.

He also has many indigenous treasures from his many adventures into the sierras and his life long passion and reknowned amateur digging on the river banks. He has a huge collection of old pots and pottery of all sizes with beautiful hand painted markings, many sotol baskets weaved by Indian artisans of years past, a large colorful beaded prayer bowl and a huge collection of arrow heads.

He is a proud Sonoran that once owned over 400 acres of precious woodlands high up the sierras. Now his magestic house and his possessions seem insignificant and are dusty with a surreal dusty cover of sadness.

He never could hear very well and I bought him a hearing aide several years ago, which he still proudly carries in his left shirt pocket. He made sure to tell me that he keeps a fresh battery handy and has it ready to snap into his hearing aide for that special occasion.

Crazy as it sounds but I have only seen it in his right ear once. That was the day almost twelve years ago when we picked it up at the Sear’s Hearing Aide Center in a small town called Sierra Vista in Arizona.

Tio Arnoldo has always needed glasses and has had poor eye sight as long as I can remember. Yet he only took them out to read. Now he is nearly blind from cataracts and an onset of macular degeneration. He stopped driving both his old Ford pick up and riding his companion “El potrillo” - the pony, a beautiful fourteen year old dark brown quarter horse which greets him enthusiastically with loud neighs and tapping hoofs when ever he sees him.

He has been unable to read for a few years now, but Tio Arnoldo still loves his Ranchera music and back in his day, could he dance. He is a great entertainer and a great memory to boot. He is known for telling some very colorful jokes but was always quick on the draw to show his affection and traditional bear hugs.

He was never a very tall man but when he entered a room, he filled up the space… he transformed an ordinary visit into a memorable and amusing experience. Loud and vivacious mainly attributed to his hearing problem, he is a much respected member of the community and beloved hombre.

He was forced to raise his beautiful twin daughters Maria Elena and Maria de los Angeles all by himself. His wife was at one time the village telegraph operator but she died at a young age due to complications from a brain tumor.

Yet Tio Arnoldo immersed himself into the tedious rituals of raising twin teenage girls, even paying close attention to the social particulars including teaching them to cook, to sew and even tutored them through both elementary, secondary and prep school.

When the twins began dating he was the talk of the village. The women admired him and the men gave him a hard time. He refused to delegate the important role of the chaperone (a job typically filled by the younger daughter or grandmother).

I remember he also caught a lot of flack for helping his girls create their formal dresses when they were both crowned the “Reina” queen and “Princesa” princess at the annual five day village celebration (that takes place August 15th though the 19th) each year.

He even hosted a steak dinner, right on the shores of the Bavispe river. He grilled dozens of tasty steaks on a mesquite wood, open flame grill to raise money for the village’s celebration. His musician friends added to the entertainment and the party although had begun around 2:00 p.m. one afternoon was not over till late afternoon the following day.

Tio Arnoldo is also a math wizard – he can do simple mathematics in his head faster then any modern day calculator. When I was starting my foundation he acted as my CFO and gave me accurate and sound business advice.

Even though his blindness prevents him from seeing much of anything. He still spends mornings in his garden tending to a huge rose bush of fragrant white roses.

After hearing that he wasn't doing well I decided to take a special trip back to the village to see my beloved Tio. I was dreading seeing my Tio Arnoldo in this condition but I am sure he hated me seeing him as he is now, even more. We held each other as if we were both holding onto the last plank on the Titanic. I didn't want to let him go.

He said he loved me like a son and that he would miss our long horse back riding adventures. With tears in my eyes, I told him we would one day be racing each other on horseback.

I have to admit that I've been praying that his journey doesn’t take any more eventful turns. He is used to taking short cuts and driving his horse head first in the thickest of brush. I pray that his last earthly excursion takes the fastest path to heaven.

I will be there to make sure he continues to be comfortable. Blessed to be surrounded by his family, friends and his music; I hope that his spirit is strong and lasting, and that it embraces him through his final ride.

His friends still carry him to church and it is rumored that he has only missed a couple of Sundays in his more then 88 years. In these final days, we took turns reading him the many letters he still gets from relatives and friends.

We also play all of his favorite cassettes especially his favorite song, “Una pagina mas,” called “one more page” which tells about writing a new chapter about love. A love without regrets, without fear and filled with peace… about finding a new destiny and enjoying life again.

Each time that we played it his smirk would quiver and tears would fill his grey colored eyes. He kept asking me to play it again and I did. I have to admit we played it at least two dozen times. His visitors all thought we were crazy. I later bought a copy of this CD "Los Cadetes de Linares" in Cd. Juarez and each time I hear his song it still brings tears to my eyes.

On the last evening before I was to leave I went over to his house to say my goodbyes. He knew why I was there and he immediately covered my hand with his frail hands. He kept patting my hands and tried to tell me how much I had meant to him.

He also tried to tell me that he was sorry we never found the gold mine and he chuckled out loud… as did I. I'll leave that story for another day.

The lesson he taught me are many - one was that all of us are nothing more or less than the sum of who we love.

Life offers all of many opportunities to love one another. It doesn’t matter whether you come from a very united family or a lively dysfunctional one.

I believe that the only way to achieve any kind of happiness is by loving in a huge way. By loving with every ounce of emotion in your heart, with passion and as openly and honestly as you are capable of.

I also believe that everyone we love or anyone that loves us ends up leaving us branded. Every love whether we like it or not, leaves a unique marking in our hearts. One that stays with us for the rest of our lives.

I hated to say goodbye or much less leave his bedside.  Even now I worry about his comfort and pray he has a kind and gentle exit.

Tio Arnoldo is in me, his voice still calls my name, and I can still feel his calloused hands and hear his off color jokes, his laughter and if I close my eyes can see his smirk.

These are not memories, but a permanent imprint of the actual mark he's left in my heart. He is as present in Mexico as he is here with me.

I have to believe that the best kind of gratitude is the one best felt when its true thankfulness. A deep and sincere feeling of appreciation for others and the experience they leave.

It’s a gratitude that’s not going anywhere – it’s in my heart and it’s here to stay.

An inexplicable feeling of thanks to a man who made a huge difference in my life.

“Adios” for now my dear friend and my beloved Tio Arnoldo. And if you should end up getting ahead of me - please know that we will one day ride together again in search of our gold mine.

Adios querido Tio.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

July 16, 2010 will forever be a memorable heartfelt dia.

What are some things you can do that are important to someone else's existence?

More often then not, it isn't anything big, nutritional or even medicinal.

A simple call, a letter, an e-mail or text...

Anyone of these can stir emotions that will brighten and improve someone's day and nurture their heart for the rest of their lives.

Don't waste another moment - do it!

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are you heeding your inner voice?

"Life challenges are supposed to help you discover who you are." - Bernice Johnson Reagon

Life is about facing every kind of situation.

Some are uncomfortable and others unbearable.

Most give us that sense of meaning of who we are and add value to our lives.

Life is about growing and actualizing our best potential.

About being the best you were meant to be.

Quite often we get stuck and don't know whether we should continue to stay or move on.

It is then that one needs to take direction from their inner most voice.

I've always used discomfort as a learning instrument - one that has helped prompt me to change my course.

Although quite often it didn't mean that I left.

Make it a great dia!  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guideline to mending a broken heart.

We have all been there.

We are in a relationship one moment and then the relationship falters and disolves and we find ourselves heart broken.

How do you deal with broken heart? 

Having had my share of experiences... I come to realize that no matter what caused our hearts to break, the feelings of loss can be the same.

Heartache tends to make us feel heavy inside, an empty and sad feeling that seems to take our breaths away. 

Most everyone says we should "share our feelings."

I totally agree - I've found that sharing one's feelings with someone we trust, someone who may recognize what we're going through will help you feel better.

What are we to do? Here's my road map to mending a broken heart.

Start by talking over all the things you are feeling, venting and allowing your emotions to release.

Having a good cry funnels more of the sadness out of our system.

My Viejita always said, "Tears cleansed the soul." 

To help with the healing process get out and do some of the things you normally enjoy, like taking your dogs out on a long walk, going to the park and taking in a game of freesbie golf or maybe going to see a movie... anything simple and enjoyable that will take your mind off the hurt.

Next try and go through a mental list of all the positive things about you.

I mean list everything that's positive and good about you.

Sometimes a broken heart will put us in a funk - and may even get us thinking that somehow we are to blame for all that's happened.

It will cause you to really be down on yourself, even exaggerating the fault as though we did something to deserve the unhappiness we're now experiencing.

If you find that you are experiencing this symptom right this moment, STOP!

Remember to keep reminding yourself of all of your good qualities and if your broken heart is clouding your view, get someone close or your friends to remind you.

Now is the opportune time to be extra kind to yourself.

To take good care of yourself. Pamper yourself. Spend some money on you.

A broken heart can be very stressful so don't let the rest of your body get broken too.

Make sure you get lots of sleep, eat healthy foods and get moving... exercise as much as you can to minimize the stress and depression.

As an added bonus you'll find that a few less pounds will also give your self-esteem a boost.

Going through a break-up can be tough but you will need to get some of those raw emotions out.

I also know that this is another tough one for us guys, but there's no shame in crying.

Dont worry no one has to see you cry if you rather they didn't. 

If you feel like crying try finding a place where you can be alone.

There is no shame in crying.

Keep yourself busy. Keep moving forward. Upward and onward.

Sometimes this is difficult when you're coping with sadness and grief, but it really helps.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't think about what you're feeling.

Working things through in our minds is all part of the healing process.

Give yourself time. It takes time for sadness to go away.

Almost everyone thinks they won't feel normal again, but the human spirit is amazing and the heartbreak always heals in time.

But how long will that take?

That depends on what caused your heartbreak, how you deal with loss and how quickly you tend to bounce back from things.

Getting over a break-up can take a couple of weeks and even a few months.

Please don't drink or self medicate to escape from the reality of your loss - it may numb the pain, but the feeling will only be temporary. And who needs the added morning after, hang over feeling anyways. 

Beside's when you resort to these options, you're not dealing with the pain, only masking it... which prolongs the heart break and the sadness.

If your sadness is so deep or lasts too long you may need some extra support.

If you don't start to feel better after a few weeks or continue to feel depressed, you may need to talk to a counselor or therapist.

Most importantly - be patient with yourself and give yourself time for the healing to begin.

There will be a day when you wake up and you will be healed of your broken heart.

I've been there and can say taking these steps were helpful to me.

Make it a great dia!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moment of substance...

My old truck had broken down half way to La Cienega de Horcones a small "ejido" or hamlet of about 87 rural settlers that make their home living high up the sierras of Northern Sonora.

The treaturous roads had already claimed one of my tires and I spent more then an hour switching out the flat - more like peeling off remnants of a badly ripped up Firestone.

Traveling to La Cienega much like La Agua Fria or San Jose de los Pozos is very difficult. From my village it requires taking a dirt and rock trail that is best accessible by four wheel drive vehicles.  My 1999 Ford F-150 doesn't know it isn't a 4 x 4 and we've made the climb several times each year.

This trip takes from 6 to 7 hours depending if it has rained. After the aprox. 6 to 7 hour trip, one must then continue traveling on foot or by horseback for several more hours.

There are many very interesting archaeological sites, five of which are cliff dwellings. The cliff dwellings are: Rancho Las Cuevas, Cueva El Cajón, Cueva El Cajoncito and Cueva Barranca de la Yegua all of which are located in arroyo Jaquiverachi.

On this trip I was taking some medical supplies to the Marquez family and possibly transport the ill Don Marquez back to the village. They had called and said that they had no way of coming into town with their elderly Abuelo.

The old Ford gave no indication that something was wrong - it sputtered and quit running sending us sliding backwards and very close to sending us into a deep ravine. After finally getting la burrita vieja - the pet name I had given my trusty F-150 was the little old donkey. 

Edgar and I sighed and knew we had come close to sailing off the edge without a chute. We made sure to put some large rocks behind each back wheel and then opened up the hood.

We looked intently under the hood for what seemed hours - the sun was directly overhead and radiating like a sea of spears on our heads and backs. Neither one of us was ever mechanically gifted so why we opened up the hood much less spent any amount of time staring at the engine block we'll never know.

We did however check the obvious - the hoses, belts, oil level, the transmission fluid and even the radiator for punctures... and then we waited a few minutes and tried to crank the engine and waited to see if the old burrita would respond. Nothing - Nada.

Time was not on our side and the mid day sun became an afternoon one. It was very hot and we couldn't hear anything but the birds and some wild turkeys in the distance. But there were no sight of a rancher or possibly a truck in the surrounding wilderness.

We decided one of had to go on by foot and seek assitance at a nearby ejido. We flipped a coin to see who would go for help. I have never been a betting man - much less a good gambler and I lost the toss.

So I took my canteen and we said our goodbyes and I began my trek to nowhere.

After two hours I stopped to rest and to take a swig of some luke warm well water out of my olive green US Army canteen. I knew that I had another couple of hours to go and after a few  minutes I commenced the final push to La Cienega.

All of a sudden I heard what I thought were the galloping hoofs of some horses, along with the loud laughter of what seemed a couple of ranchers. It was like a dream! You would have thought I had just heard Ed McMahon with publisher's clearing house knocking on my door to deliver my million dollar check. I yelled with excitement!

"Hola compadres!" I yelled over and over. With my last burst of energy I began jogging towards the beautiful sounds of hoofs hitting the dirt and rocky earth.

Out of breath, dehydrated and and a 110% sun burned I finally came around the bend to see three men on horseback coming towards me.

"You look like you could use an amigo." The youngest one yelled and everyone laughed. "I could use three!" I yelled back.

They quickly dismounted and soon were offering me cool water from their own canteens. I knew two of the ranchers. Soon I was telling them about how worried I was about my broken down truck and how I had left young Edgar watching it.

I also asked them if they knew how old man Marquez was doing.

"That old piece of "carne seca" or beef jerky is a tough son of a gun. He'll be ok till we get you to see him."

The older one said, "So don't worry, we can check on your truck, but for now let's take care of you and get you out of this heat."

Another one said, "We can fix the truck, but if something happens to you - then we are all in trouble." Everyone had another laugh. Deep down I was touched by his words.

The egg and potatoe burritos they shared with me were better then a What-a-Burger's "Taquitos."  I devoured the two gigantic flour tortilla burritos and a half of a canteen of cool spring water.

I had just been served with kindness and compassion - by three rugged ranchers and what an unexpected meal it was.

We all have it in us to create moments like this one. Moments of substance where we can touch someone's life. It doesn't have to be anything big - just a little bit of compassion and kindness.

Whether it is being extra nice to the 7-11 store worker, the garbage collectors or mailman... find a way to offer someone a bit of your personal substance.

Take time to create them.

You'll find that people - strangers even will certainly be touched by them.

Make it a great dia!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Slightly cracked...

I have a close circle of friends.

You could even call them "incredible amigos".

One an (ex-foreign Legionier) has been my amigo for over 25 years.

I am grateful for each of their friendships.

I came across the following quote and had to laugh...

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg, even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."

Make sure you enjoy your amigos and make it a great dia!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My neighbors on their morning walk...

I have some pretty eccentric neighbors. One older couple right around the bend from my house enjoy walking their pet. This nice couple – don’t walk a dog – I guess they could if they had one. They like to take in an early morning stroll with their cat. Now I walk my dog and my dog basically does and goes where I want him to… he is great that way.

Yet each morning I see them across the way and wave – sometimes they wave back – other times they are too busy to. What’s priceless is that this big cat always leads the way, walking at times, running ahead at others… and with his humans in tow. A proud cat with its tail high, making sure that everyone around them understands their perfect arrangement.

So Parker and I stop and observe (that’s my canine), how they’ll seem to get into deep conversation and walk ahead of their cat and you know a cat is just not going to allow that. (You cat lovers know what I mean).

Their cat looks up at them and will turn slowly and look at us as if to tell us “Watch this guys” and then will stop and clean some hard-to-reach spot, or investigate something in the grass. Just trying to tell us and everyone around...  that there is no way it is following his humans.

So the leash goes taunt and they stop immediately and then quickly find something to point at as if to distract Parker and I (the observers). “Yes, look over in that tree – what kind of affliction could be hitting that tree?” “No not that one that one – way over there.”

It is extremely amusing to see and maybe slightly annoying to the "cat" walkers. But then again I guess this is never annoying to these nice cat lovers when it happens to them every day. Having had to take care of a cat once - I confess that cat lovers are a bit different.

I think all Cat lovers for that matter… understand and appreciate a good joke, even when it is on them.

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are you a stranger to you?

Ninety percent of the world's woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves. - Sydney J. Harris

Be open and honest.

Be courageous!


It may be the BIGGEST discovery yet.

Make it a great dia! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Be innovative.

"If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative!" - Woody Allen

The best ideas I ever had were innovative!

Do you encourage creativeness at work?

What about at home?

Instead of wasting time on prejudging, how about instead asking yourself what's right about it and then building on it.

After all a “mistake” could be a well-reasoned attempt, that didn’t meet an expectation.

Remember mistakes will happen… especially when people get creative, when they are allowed to experiment, when they are allowed to innovate.

To encourage a culture of innovation or what I call intelligent risk taking, we all need to tolerate, and expect or even welcome some mistakes.

To take risks, rid yourselves of the communal “fear” that's all too prevalent.

Will you encourage innovation?

Can you accept creativity?

How do you deal with your mistakes?

What about another’s mistake?


Make it a great día!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are you giving it your all?

“There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” - Napoleon Hill

I was told early on by my Viejita, that “I could achieve as much or more than the next man, given the same opportunity.”

"The difference," she added "between its SUCCESS or failure - was totally up to the amount of personal effort, passion and determination that I gave to achieving the goal."

To this day I believe that there isn’t anything anyone of us can’t accomplish!

We all have so much more in us that we could be contributing.

Are you giving it your all? 

Make it a great dia!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Don't just sit there - go out and dare greatly.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, "It is not the critic who counts.

It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.

Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who errs and comes short again and again.

Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions.

Who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

So dare greatly this week and don’t forget…

Make it a great día!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How much can you give back?

How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. - George Washington Carver

Tia Tencha was a benevolent old lady that lived just south of our house.

Her tiny adobe and thatched roof home was on a rocky peak over looking a creek that was fed by the Bavispe river.

She really wasn't our Aunt (Tia is Aunt in Spanish) and I don't know why we all called her that, but we all did.

Tia Tencha was deeply religious and after her husband died she could always be found sweeping the floor of our church, Nuestra Señora de Asunción De María De La Baceraca. 

I would see her walk past our house each afternoon and a few hours later would see what seemed like a bright fire fly dancing in the distance.

The tiny light becoming a gently swaying and flickering bright light (she carried a kerosene lantern to guide her home).     

I loved waiting for and looking out of the back door and watching this nightly occurance.

I would close my eyes and count to five and then open them to see that the light had moved closer to me.

Through the years I had to count to ten, then twenty and even higher before I saw much movement.

Yes, through the years as Tia Tencha got older her gait got much slower.

Her flickering light seemed to dance a waltz against the pitch dark background, first swaying forward and then slightly over as if outlining an upside down letter L.

The small lantern lit up her angelic face and silver colored braided hair that was always neatly tucked into a black bandana that matched her black dress and stockings. 

Her lamp lit up the night and almost a five feet circle around her.

She looked like an apparition of a saint I had seen on my Viejita's calendar. 

As she approached our house she would always stop and more often then not she had a biscuit or a piece of hard candy for me.

I would trade her for a glass of water.

Our house was the final resting stop on her trip home from being at the church.

She made it a point to stop and rest on an old wooden bench that was behind our house.

She always teased me about her glass of water.

Telling me one night I had given her too much coffee, another night that I had given her too little milk or that the glass of water was a glass of tequila.

She made me laugh because I always used the same glass and it was always a glass filled with water.

But Tia Tencha was very kind to me and would always say as she got up to continue her journey, "Dios te de mas mi hijito, para que me puedas dar mas", or may God give you more my little one so that you can give me more.

To this day I remember Tia Tencha and am reminded to give thanks for everything I've received -  and through this childhood memory I remind myself to give as much back as I can. 

Make it a great and generous dia!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Frederick the Great knew...

The greatest and noblest pleasure which we have in this world is to discover new truths, and the next is to shake off old prejudices. - Frederick II, the Great

Global unity is attainable.

Prejudice has historically caused a lot of pain.

We need to seek to understand one another and respect each other's custom's and cultures.

Tolerating each other is the one value that is indispensable in creating a true global community.

And through TOLERANCE we can create the harmonious societies we all deserve. 

Reach out to a stranger and make it a friendship sort of dia!

Friday, August 6, 2010

How often do you give thanks?

How often do you give thanks?

Do you ever thank God for taking the time to listen to you?

I begin each day by thanking my God for just waking up each morning to enjoy a new day.

Quite often the more positive a start you create the more positive kind of day you will also enjoy.

Also don’t just thank God for being there through your successes… be mindful that He is also there for you through life's ups and downs.

Thank Him for wiping your pain and any occasional tear.

Thank Him when you have a broken heart.

Remember to thank Him for helping you keep it together and not let you fall apart.

It is important to thank Him for taking the time to listen and care.

Thank Him for hearing your call when life puts you through trials and tribulations.

Thank Him for bringing out the very best in you.

Thank Him every time you can’t find your way back, or stray off the path.

Thank Him for each gift – large or small.

Thank Him for more opportunities to love your loved ones.

Thank Him for your good health and sound mind.

Thank Him for a kinder spirit.

Thank Him for a more caring soul.

Thank Him for your happiness.

Thank Him for your security.

Thank Him for your peace of mind.

Thank Him for a more generous heart.

Thank Him for your earthly journey.

Yes thank Him for every blessing filled moment.


Make it a great dia! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My contributory ounce of laughter...

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Carl Buechner

I enjoy telling stories and not long ago I was telling one of my favorite childhood memories at the office.

Most of the time the stories I end up sharing will have some sort of lesson - quite often they're also amusing.

One of my colleagues said, "Tomas, one of the things I would miss the most (if I no longer worked here), would be laughing from all your stories."

What she didn't know was that her comment also made me smile. 

What could you do to help someone enjoy their work or home life that much more?

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chavita's delivery boy lesson.

"Chavita" short for Salvador or "Savior" was born unable to walk.

I am not certain what the cause was.

Yet he has to be the most talkative and friendliest soul in the village.

At ten years of age, with a mop of black hair and an inch long scar over his left eye brow as a reminder of when he fell many years ago and big brown eyes "Chavita" is a good looking kid.

He is almost at the level of the official town greeter.

"Reina" or Queen, yes that's her real name... is the official greeter.

"Reina" tends to know everyone and their personal business and is quick to share it with anyone willing to listen.

But Chavita is different. He has never let his disability, disable him.

He is often seen working around town on errands or even moving things for anyone who can't lift heavy things.

Did I mention he sits in an old wheelchair, made comfortable by a worn denim cushion that provides only minimal comfort to his somewhat worn black leather seat? 

I often ran in to him at the entrance of "Javi's" pronounced "Hah vee's" short for Javier or Xavier's grocery store.

There he sat greeting every passer by as he waited for anyone willing to hire him or in need of a hand with their groceries.

Waiting patiently for the next customer willing to pay him a peso or about .12 cents to wheel their bag of groceries home.

One morning I stopped at Javi's on my morning walk about the village.

As I left to go see Beto "El Diablo", yes "Albert the devil", (who is not really the devil but was at one time a pretty mischievous kid and the nick name stuck), I ran into Chavita.

"Buenos Dias! Como amanecistes hoy?" Asking me, how I was today... and so began a short morning conversation about his goal for the day.

Today he wanted to return to his house with no less than fifteen pesos - slightly less then $1.20 cents.

I asked him how much he had made yesterday and he told me that he always averaged about ten pesos, so he was going to push himself hard today.

We joked and talked about the many different types of groceries he had carried in his short career as a neighborhood, well village delivery man.

He had carried everything from a bag of tomatoes or a watermelon to a bundle of sugar cane and even a sack of flour that almost broke his front tires because of the weight.

I turned to Chavita and said, "You are a hard worker, pretty young and  responsible, but don't you ever get tired of all the lifting?"

He thought about it for a second and then looked at me and in his most serious tone answered, "It's not difficult work, and I make an honest living."

"I enjoy it all, especially when I carry Seferina's groceries (a thin elderly lady of about 85) eventhough she only pays me about half what I charge."

"Beside's it is the rest of you I feel sorry for, at least I have a place to sit as I do all my daily chores, you all have to carry all that heavy weight everywhere, on a set of two skinny legs!" 

"You never get a chance to rest while you're moving or let a special chair like mine carry you around." 

He then started laughing and I tussled his mop of hair and laughed at his analysis. 

I love Chavita's positive outlook but respect his extraordinary sense of who he is.

Chavita taught me a lesson that morning - one I will never forget... everything in LIFE is relative, and we all have to make the best of what we have been given.

And those of us with the best attitude always end up doing better.

Make it a great dia!