I Got You

The other day Eli was trying to do something with one of his toys and I knew he wasn’t going to be able to do it so I offered to help him. “No, I do it, daddy. I do it.” So I smiled and said, “Okay, let me know when you’re ready for me to help you.”

And so a few minutes later he came to me, frustrated, crying and ready to just give up on it. “Hey, look at me. I got you, okay? I can do this.” So I helped him out and off he went with his toy, happy and playing.

This morning that scene played out in my head again during a conversation with God. And it reminded me of all the times I wanted to do things on my own. How I thought I could do it all by myself. I can imagine God smiling down on me saying, “Okay, let Me know when you’re ready for me to help you.”

And just like Eli, I would come to Him frustrated, crying and ready to just give up. And that’s when He says to me, “Hey, look at Me. I got you. I can do this.”

Of course, I was in tears driving in, like most days I connect with Him. I love that through parenting He reminds of His love and patience with me.

Designed & Created

I had a random thought this morning as I was driving in. I saw this office building and I thought, “I wonder how hard it would be for me to convince someone that this building was not designed or created but it just came to be?” That after millions or billions of years this building just came to be. The support beams, the walls the roof it all just came together on its own after years and years. That every electrical wire within its walls just happened. That all the plumbing that runs under the building and up into it, just came into existence with no outside help. That the layout of the building, where certain rooms and offices were just randomly decided to appear on their own.

Do you think I could convince someone of that, or do you think they would call me crazy for thinking that such a complex structure could just come into existence without someone designing it or without someone building it?

So it makes me wonder how anyone could think that the most complex system ever known to man, could have just happened. I’m talking about the human body. That over billions of years we just appeared and evolved. With all of the microsystems happening within each of us they can just say, “it just happened and we have evolved to this over time.” We don’t even fully understand our minds and how they fully function yet.

I know people have the absolute right to believe in what they want to, just as am I. I guess I am just constantly in awe of how our bodies work and how nature works and I have a hard time believing that it just came to be out of chance. We have eleven systems in play inside of us at all times. Each one of these systems is vital to our survival and each one of the systems is absolutely amazing to study and see what it does. And I’ve only read about a fraction of them.

When I stop and look at things in detail it just makes me believe more and more that we were beautifully and amazingly designed and created. And that is just the human body. Just one species here on this amazing planet. That one alone would be impossible to just happen by chance and evolution in my eyes. I don’t care how many years go by. Don’t even get me started on all of the interdependent systems that are happening on Earth.

Anyway, I just had to write this down as it was really hitting me all the way into work this morning. I hope you all are having a great day/week. And if you’re not, I pray that it gets better for you!

Child of ProLife

I know this subject matter has been BIG on the news and social media. Everyone has their beliefs, their convictions and thoughts on the matter. I could sit here and write a novel on it all from my thoughts and beliefs as well. But to be honest, I’m not sure it would do much good with the way people handle other’s beliefs and opinions nowadays.

But I am ProLife and here’s one major reason why I am. When my mother was pregnant with me she didn’t know and was still taking contraceptives. When she finally found out, the doctor told her because of that I could be born with defects and that she should have me aborted. My mother didn’t even hesitate and declined. She said, “however God gives me this child, I will love it.” And so she did. And here I am 37 plus years later writing this. So I can’t point fingers and say, “you’re horrible for feeling that way” or “how dare you be for abortion”. I think there are things happening and that has happened in our lives that really shape how and who we are and the things we stand for. But what I can say is how absolutely grateful I am that my mother chose NOT to abort that little baby growing inside of her. That she gave me a chance and she gave me that love even before I took my first breath.

And now I even have two of my own. Two crazy little boys that I wouldn’t trade for ANYTHING in this world! This love that I have for them and the moments that I have come to cherish with my family was only possible because of that one decision she made many years ago.

Thank you, momma.

The Power Over You

I think my greatest weakness or greatest test of character for me is my drive in the mornings and in the evenings. Nothing gets to me more than a selfish, greedy driver that has no care for anyone around them. Whether it’s someone texting on their phone, not paying attention, someone cutting me off just because they don’t feel like waiting like anyone else, or someone just being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. I think we’ve all experienced it once or twice or maybe even every day for the entire period we’ve had our license.

Lately, I’ve told myself, “You really have to stop letting these people get to you. They have NO CARE in the world for you, why should you care so much about them.” So I’ve tried to just not say, gesture or let it get to me to as I can. I’ve been doing better, a lot better actually. Usually, I just a shake my head and move right along. But this morning, it was like one after the other and I fell right back into the yelling and signaling with my hands. And that was just within the first 20 minutes of driving in the morning. I caught myself and I told myself to stop. I did and the rest of my drive I just brushed aside any other driver that did wrong against me.

I really have to stop giving these people so much power over my day. Because they ruin my mornings or evenings. I’m sure they go on about their day just clueless or careless as can be because they just really don’t care. So why do I? Why am I giving them that power over me? Because that’s what it comes down to it. I’m letting the actions of others totally throw off my mood and my day. I feel stupid when I put it into that perspective. Something so simple and easy but yet I turn it into something that it shouldn’t be.

Do you ever find yourself letting others ruin or change your mood by the little things they do?

2 Days Of T.I.R.

Saturday came really fast. It seemed so far out and yet here it was, it was time to run in the Texas Independence Relay. If you’ve read my previous post before this one, you’ll know that I’m not a runner and I don’t “enjoy” it one bit. But yet, here I was loading up a van at 5 o’clock in the morning getting ready to make our way to Gonzales, Texas.

We got there, checked-in, got our swag and then got ready to start the race with a photo team start. And while most of us ran just a little bit and were able to walk back to our van, our first two runners of our two teams were already off to the races.

Our teams were split into two vans each, so we had a total of four vans with six members each. I was in van B for our team, which meant that we had the second six legs to run, which in turn meant we waited. The time seemed to go by so slow even as we went to go and have breakfast. After we ate and took a break we made our way to the first exchange of our van. We waited a little bit as I took some pictures of the beautiful scenery and took it all in. We walked over to the exchange point and waited a little more. Then we saw van A pull up which told us their last runner wasn’t far behind. And sure enough, before we knew it, here he came in the distance. It didn’t take long before he was only yards away ready to hand off the slap-on bracelet. We went from waiting and letting the time slowly pass by, to time flying by for the rest of the race.

The rest of it was like a blur, between stopping to drop off runners and moving down the road to a half-way point to give water/Gatorade it wasn’t long before it was my turn. My nerves were kicking in and sure enough, we parked in Flatonia, TX and there I went, walking to my exchange point. I prayed on my walk there and while I was waiting. I prayed that I would have strength and health along the way. It seemed like it would take a while before they would get there, but they rounded the corner a few blocks away heading towards us and it didn’t take long before that bracelet was in my hand and I was off. I tried to slow down my pace a bit, but I couldn’t. I don’t know if the adrenaline was kicking in or the excitement, but every time I would look down I was going too fast for my pace. I felt great and didn’t mind it so much but after my halfway point I hit a long climb up that almost caused me to stop. Being from Houston, we’re not used to hills and it showed on me that very instant. It took me about another half mile to recover from that and be back on a normal pace. When I rounded the last corner and into a slight straightaway I could see a crowd of people and knew that was the exchange point. So I ran faster, trying to get to my next teammate and get him going as fast as I could. I put the bracelet in his hand and I turned away from the area to move and it was then that I saw my wife and my oldest son walking towards me. I thought I was seeing things but there they were. They drove all the way from Katy, TX and just to see me finish my first leg in Praha, TX. I was overwhelmed and my eyes quickly teared. I was speechless. I hugged them both and was just overjoyed. I went from being exhausted and disappointed in my run at the hill to be filled with just excitement and love. It was a boost I severely needed right at that moment. I didn’t get to stay long before we had to leave to make our next stop but those few minutes gave me strength and encouragement. They made my weekend.

My second leg was in the middle of the night through Eagle Lake. Literally going from one side of the town to the next. My exchange point was at a Brookshire Brothers parking lot. The cold front had kicked in a bit earlier that evening and so I waited in the van for our runner to be in sight before I got out. I double checked everything, headlamp, blinker, glowsticks, etc. I was ready with my gear, but was I really to run again? I wasn’t tired but I know I wasn’t at full capacity for my energy. And then here he came. I got out and waited for him to take his last few steps before reaching me and handing me the bracelet. It wasn’t long before I was out of the lights from the parking lot and into the darkness of the streets of Eagle Lake. For the whole run, I didn’t really see anyone till the end. It was that leg that I had on my “Run 4 Them” shirt. Unfortunately, it was covered with a running jacket, but I knew it was there and I felt it. I thought of them all. All of those precious lives that we no longer have here with us. The reason I was here. I ran through the abandoned streets at this odd hour of the night and it was quite peaceful. I felt great running and was doing great at keeping a decent pace for me. That is until I turned into the last straight away and was blasted by the wind. It knocked my pace down a bit and my hands felt a bit frozen. It was then that a runner passed me. I was able to stay a few paces behind him when he did and I was tired and about to slow when I noticed two more runners quickly gaining on me. But there was the big bright light and flag that marked the exchange point. They were NOT going to pass me. I ran faster and in doing so almost passed the guy that had passed me earlier. I handed off the bracelet and walked off trying to catch my breath. Leg two was done.

We had hotel rooms that we would use to shower and rest in between our van legs. Even though I was only able to get about an hour and a half of sleep Saturday night, it helped a lot to shower, freshen up and just rest on a nice clean bed. When we woke a little later in the morning hours, we had to quickly leave and make our way to Cinco Ranch in Katy, TX to start our last leg. My stomach was hurting pretty bad that morning and I was exhausted. I had no idea how I was going to run my longest of three legs still.

I stood on the corner of Wilcrest and Briar Forest waiting for my teammate to come. I said to God, “You’re gonna have to carry me on this one. Cause I have nothing left.” When that bracelet hit my hand and the HPD Officer let me cross the street I felt some energy. Felt pretty good going into the run, making my way down Briar Forest. I started to feel a bit tired by the time I hit the halfway point and got my sips of water in. It wasn’t long after that, that I think my body wanted to start shutting down. My left hamstring started tightening up, my right calf started to tighten up as well. Every now and then I would get little pulls in them that would make me jerk in pain. I remember hobbling a few times to get them to go away. My body wanted to stop. I wanted to stop. My body had given me two really good legs of running and I think it had enough. I looked down at my phone from time to time and kept seeing 15min/mile paces every now and then. I thought to myself, “I’ll be lucky to get a 12min/mile pace out of this, maybe even a 13min/mile pace. I felt like a failure at that point. Like I’ve just failed my team and my friends and family. Here I was hobbling in my run and some random guy runs next to me, extends his fist out and gives me dap. He moved on ahead of me, but maybe he was trying to encourage me to keep going despite the condition he saw me in. I thought about the names on that shirt. And how they fought all the way to end. The pain, the exhaustion they felt. Still, they fought. I continued on, regardless of what I must have looked like and pushed through it with tears in my eyes. Not from the pain, but from thinking of them. I turned on Voss and rounded that turn and I could see my teammates waiting there, happy to see me and I handed off the bracelet to our next runner. “Do you need me to help you to the van?” my teammate asked me. I thanked him and told him I’d be okay. I looked at my pace when I got in that van and I was just over an 11min/mile. I have no idea how that happened cause it felt like I was going so slow. But then I remember what I asked God before I started that run.

We finished the race at the Buffalo Bayou visitor’s center and I think we were all glad to be done. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I’ll never forget it. Someone asked me if I’d want to do it again next year in which I replied, “Probably not, but I won’t ever say never.” Even though I did catch myself saying “Never again” after the last leg I ran.

I want to thank my teammates for letting me be a part of this. I know I was one of the slowest runners there that weekend for them, but still, they encouraged me along the way and inspired me by how awesome they did. We truly have some gifted runners in our company and I was able to see them first hand.

To all my friends and family that encouraged me along the way when I would post about the race and shared photos. Thank you all so much.

To my family that drove up there to see me on my first leg. You have no idea how much that meant to me. It was truly an amazing feeling to see you there.

But mostly to my two biggest cheerleaders along the way. My brother Ramiro and my wife Erin. Who sat there and followed me literally every step of my runs through my run app. They cheered me on and encouraged me to keep going. You guys have no idea the impact that had on me through the race. Thank you both so much, from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys so much.

And of course, I can’t forget the people who I ran this race for. The loved ones that are no longer here with us.

Santos Herrera Jr., Allyson Hendrickson, HPD SGT. Wayne H. Bearden, Brandon Hamilton, Pete and Angie Ballard, JoJo Alvarez, Jesse Elkins, Maria Guerrero, Jesus “Chuy” Sosa, David Nagy, Carolyn Ter Poorten, Marilyn Perry, Sheila Dodd, Pio LeMoing, Roger Ibarra, Pablo A. Villarreal, Yolanda Garcia, Carlos Castillo, Reggie Walters Jr., Mimi Guerrero. 

You are all so loved. You are all so missed.

 

 

The Texas Independence Relay

I am NOT a runner. I mean that. I really hate to run. It’s so boring to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before in one of my previous blogs. I’m such a slow runner as well. The only reason I run is to help keep even more weight off. Notice I did not say “to stay in shape” cause unless you count round or flabby as “in shape” I’m way off that mark. But it’s not something that I enjoy doing. But yet, here I am yet again a day away from running another race that I probably have zero business doing. The Texas Independence Relay.

What is it? 
Basically, it’s a relay race from Gonzales, TX to Houston, TX. Teams sign up with a certain amount of runners and then divide 36 legs of runs evenly between those runners. Each leg is a different distance and different difficulty. You can see the details here on this map.

Why am I doing it?
For those who know me, they’ve asked me this. A couple of them think I’m a little bit crazy and maybe I am. So why do it? Again, because I love to eat. But also because I have some very special people I do it for. I’m pretty sure every one of us had been affected by cancer. It’s a word I just even hate to write out. But none-the-less, it exists. And it’s taken some really special people away from me and from people around me. And so I do it for them and their memories. That they may continue to live on through our memories and stories and life. I hate that I have to continue to update this shirt every year, but I do it to honor those we have lost. This year is a little especially hard because I had to add a name I wish I didn’t have to. David Nagy was a dear friend to our family. And although we weren’t able to be as close to him in the last years of his life, we had a really strong bond with our families for quite a while before that. We last him late last year after his hard-fought battle. But as that special name was hard for me to put on this shirt, every single one of these names has been hard for everyone else around me. When I’m running I think about them and their families and I feel like they truly carry me along the way.

Run4Them2019_T-Shirt

I am nervous. I am a little worried. I’m excited and anxious as well. I’m very blessed to have teammates here at work that have really been there to help me along this journey of training. I’ve only really been training for about a month but I’ve been eating better and running more. I’ve lost almost ten pounds within that time. I suffered a calf strain last week that made me lose a week of running, but it seems to be better. I’m sure I’ll be fine though. My teammates have my back and more importantly, God’s got my back.

Part of our team leaves this evening to Gonzales, TX for the pre-party tonight. The rest of us leave early tomorrow morning and we will get there for our start time.  The race officially begins at 6:00 AM but teams are spread out till about 2:30 PM for their start. I believe both of our company’s teams start at 8:30ish. I’m hoping to do a recap post of this all to share the experience.

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see my LIVE tracking on Runtastic or not but here’s a link to my profile in case anyone cares to keep track.

Runtastic Profile

Here are some details on my legs.

FIRST RUN – LEG 11: 4.31 Miles
Scheduled Start Time: 3:11 PM (Saturday)
This leg will take me from Flatonia to Praha.

SECOND RUN – LEG 22: 2.84 Miles
Scheduled Start Time: 11:54 PM (Saturday)
This leg will take me from one side of Eagle Lake to the other, running straight through.

THIRD RUN – LEG 34: 4.85 Miles
Scheduled Start Time: 9:30 AM  (Sunday)
I start from Wilcrest on Briar Forest and run East. I will hit Voss go North and turn East on Woodway and I will finish my last leg right across the street from my old job at Second Baptist Church.

Of course, the start times are dependent on people’s time/pace before me.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
-Psalm 18:2

I Don’t Dream About…

This morning I was talking to my co-workers about a dream I had of them. And of course, that sparked up a whole conversation about dreams. And I mentioned to them something I brought up with my wife which is that I don’t dream about my boys. In my dreams, they do exist, because I have thoughts or memories of them in there, but they’re not physically there in my dream. I find that a bit strange, but I don’t really have any of them.

I don’t know much about dreams, not sure if anyone really does I suppose. But I just find it weird that my family are the ones I interact with the most and think about the most, but yet I have only really had my wife in my dreams. One thought was that maybe I’m so protective of them that I’ve put up a mental shield or barrier for them not to even step into my dream world. I have had some pretty intense, scary and dark dreams. I don’t know if my subconsciously I’m protecting them from that world.

Of course one of my co-workers said, “Well, maybe it’s because you are thinking about them all the time and dealing with them so often that your brain is just taking a break from them.  That could be a possibility as well. 🙂