Level 72

Today my dad turns 72 years old. That number seems unreal to me. Not because it’s a high number, or because the years have flown by, but because my dad doesn’t look or act like he’s 72. When I was little I thought 72 was really old and you were most likely bedridden, in a wheelchair or having to use some sort of walking aid. But I was little so I could be off by a little bit. Regardless, that’s not my dad, he’s always working. He’s been retired for years now, but he refuses to stop and kick his feet up for too long. Maybe that’s the old generation that I’m seeing. The generation of hard work and keep pushing no matter what. Sometimes I look at him and I’m just amazed and how strong he looks and I pray that I took can look and feel that good at 72. But that’s really just a very small piece of it.

I could probably write on and on about my dad and the amazing man and father that he is, but I frankly wouldn’t have the time. There’s so much I could say about him, but if I could sum him up in three words they would be “Loving”, “Worker” and “Wise”. Those are the three things I think of most when I think about my father.

He’s always there when I’ve needed words of wisdom or guidance. Being someone who grew up with little and has made such significant advancement in his education, career and overall life, I really do make it a point to listen to his words. He’s a part of that generation that’s not very tech savvy right now, but as I kid I remember thinking, “There’s nothing my dad can’t fix“. I’m just glad I can help him out now when he’s trying to figure out the tech stuff.

I don’t know many people that are hard working like my old man. It’s like he never stops. There are times when I get tired just watching him go. But it’s like he doesn’t know how to stop. He’s like a machine. Maybe it’s because he’s had to work so hard throughout his life, he’s really never known much else. My father came over from Mexico with his uncle and I remember him telling me stories of working fields when he first came. To think that he retired being the safety manager of a global company, well I think that speaks for itself.

But the one thing that I admire most about my father, is his love. I don’t think I ever went one day without feeling his love. He loved me enough to discipline me, to get me on that straight path. And even though at that time I hated it and didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have it better because they did what they wanted, when they wanted, I do now. And I thank God every day that he was on top of that. He’s done so much for his families over all of these years, but for some reason the one thing that sticks out to me the most was his career change. You see when I was little I didn’t get to see my dad much. He worked at Ben Taub Hospital and usually worked nights, which meant he slept during the days. There were times we couldn’t go outside and play because we couldn’t make noise for fear of waking him up. He loved his job. It was exciting for him and he’s always loved the medical industry/field. He still talks about it from time to time and I can tell that even now it still excites him. But there was one problem, he wasn’t seeing his family and they weren’t seeing him. I can imagine that it must be a difficult decision to make a change doing something you enjoy. But I can also see that if that choice was because you weren’t seeing the people you loved most, what’s the point. I don’t know where my dad would be right now in the medical field had he stayed there, I wonder that a lot myself today. What I do know is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am right now had I had to miss out on the time that he gave to his children and even now as adults with our own families. I’ll never forget that. Ever.

So today my old man levels up to 72. I say level up because for one, I’m a gamer, and two because though his body has aged, he’s wiser and more awesome as the years have gone. I admire him so much. I think it’s pretty safe to say that all his kids do and so do many around him. I pray that one day my children will be able to say the same about me.

I love you, dad. Happy Birthday.

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Am I Successful?

Tomorrow, I turn 34 and yesterday my wife asked me if I considered myself successful, as part of a bigger conversation we were having. I pondered for a few seconds and responded with, “It depends on what you define as successful.

Successful to me years ago doesn’t have the same meaning as it does now. When I was younger, success was measured by my bank account, social status or my possessions, you know society’s standard of success. I wanted to be rich, and travel and have the kind of job that others would envy and get paid big figures for it. Having not so good luck with relationships, I figured I’d probably never be married and just be happy that way. Heck, more money and time for me, right?

Success. A word that can have a different meaning coming from different people. A word truly in the eye of the beholder.

I don’t have all that money. I see people younger than me with money coming out of their ears and bank accounts. People with so much money, they don’t even know what to do with it, except buy useless things. And while I have traveled, it’s nothing the sort of what I had envisioned in my dreams for my future. I don’t have that dream job/career and I certainly don’t get paid loads of money for it. That successful story, never happened. It never came true.

That story, never came true, but God. God had a different success story for me.

I don’t have the money. Not like that. But I have enough and then a little left over. Sometimes I stop and just look around and see how AMAZINGLY blessed I am, because there are far too many people in the world that don’t have a tenth of what I have. And I surely can’t forget where I came from as well. I just cannot complain about my life and my wealth.

I don’t get to travel around the world. I’ve seen a few places around this region and that has been awesome for me. I still dream of going places, but it’s been great to see the little that I have. I still remember when we were too poor to go anywhere but to Mexico to see family or to the state park to enjoy a swim. So to me, yeah, I’ve come a long way in that area.

I don’t have, what most would call, a dream job. I work at a church, and sometimes it gets pretty busy and stressful just like other jobs do. I certainly don’t get pad big money working at a church, even though it’s a big church. But I have a steady job, that I enjoy doing. A place that I get to serve God while I work and I have an awesome team around me. I’m not out dealing, stealing and who knows what else, which was a path that was not only easy for me to take, but one that was offered to me a lot growing up.

I never thought I’d get married or be a homeowner, much less be a dad. And yet, here I am with an AMAZING and beautiful wife, and the most awesome three year old anyone could ever ask for.

I don’t want society’s success. I’m so happy with my success. And I just can’t help and smile because I know God’s not done with me yet.

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Every year we all do it. We think of the things in our lives and the things about us that we seek to improve. And for some reason, we fill the need to wait till a new year to try and start them. Maybe it’s the idea of a new year, clean slate? Not sure, but I do it as well. I have made lots of resolutions over the past few years, and some have been forgotten and some I’ve actually managed to hit. This year is no different in making resolutions, but I think what will be different will be my way of handling them.

God is my life. Period. Without God, I would not be here typing this post, and only he knows where I would be right this moment. Everything that I am now, is because of him. So why should I try to change my life and habits, without putting him at the forefront? I shouldn’t, and this year, I won’t. So with this list I say this, He will be at the forefront of all of it, no matter how big or small the task may seem.

1. Read
I used to LOVE to read as a kid. Stepping into a library was like stepping into a Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics now days. It was fun for me, and having so many books to be able to read was just awesome. And then High School Happened. Forced to read “the classics”, which I’m sure is great for a lot of people, but it repulsed me. Hated it. I turned my attention more towards video games, and that’s all she wrote. But now, I want to start reading again. I know most people are like, “Pffft! Big deal, so read more”, but I know if my wife is reading this, she knows it’s a pretty big deal for me. So I will try and make some time during my days to pick up a book and read. It’s already started happening a little but I want to really push on this for 2015 and hopefully beyond.

2. Study
No, I’m not going back to school. This past year, I felt God calling me. I feel like He’s calling me to be better educated in Him and His Word. I’ve had friends approaching and asking me questions about my faith and although I’ve been able to answer their questions,  I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg for this. The way this world is moving into darker days, I need to be studied up and ready to lead people towards the light.

3. Pray
2014 really taught me to pray. Now I’ve always prayed. Pray in the mornings, in the evenings, when I’m alone. I pray for myself, my friends, my family my co-workers, our homes, our pets, etc. But this year taught me to really pray. To get down on my knees, to pour out my heart, and pray into tears. To not only pray alone, but to gather my “prayer warriors” and pray together over situations. God has NEVER let me down. Not once. This is something I need to not only do, but submerse myself in. Prayer. It’s powerful, and I personally seen it happen.

4. Say No
I consider myself to be a pretty hard worker. I love to help people out, even if it’s not on my “ticket”. I feel like being a servant to others, especially when in need is something I’ve always been called to do. But at some point, you realize that some people will take advantage of this. In the past, I keep my mouth closed and happily oblige. But when it starts to take time away from my family and friends and the things that matter most to me, I reach a point where I have to start just saying “no”. I can no longer go out of my way every time certain people are unprepared countless amount of times, and I have to clean it up. My God, my family will ALWAYS come before my work. Always. And I plan on enforcing that in 2015. I can always find another job, but my family and my friends are irreplaceable.

5. Traffic Will Not Win
Most of my friends know I’m a pretty nice guy, regardless of my appearance. It takes a lot to get me angry or in a bad mood. But traffic, traffic is my weakness. It’s like I’m a different person. I have a low tolerance for stupidity and for selfish drivers who care not only about themselves while driving. Not only is it annoying but it’s dangerous. But I’m going to TRY my best to remain calm and not let it ruin my day or mornings. Sometimes it changes my mood, I find myself getting really angry at times, and I know it just needs to stop. I’ll never be able to change people and their selfishness. But I can change how I react to them.

6. Write
I used to love to write all the time. Short stories. Some of my friends have been lucky enough to be featured in some of those stories. Then I stopped. Not sure why. But I jus stopped writing. And it’s something I want to pick back up. Even if it’s just for fun, cause it is something I do enjoy doing.

7. Get Fit
This is the reoccurring one. Every year, I tell myself I’m going to do this. Some years I start, and start well and get close to my goals, and then I give up. But this year, not only will I put God first, but I have a group of friends that I will be going through with. I think this will be the year that it actually happens. No. I KNOW this will be the year that actually happens. No more excuses. No more giving up. 2015 will be my fittest year yet. And I hope by this time next year, I’m not eating these words. O_o

Hospitals & Me Don’t Mix

I’m reminded, as I lay here on this uncomfortable bench seat/bed, how much I hate hospitals. Not just because the bedding for overnight guests are usually the worst, but because I have some bad memories here. I lost my grandfather when I was seven years old. He was my best friend at that time of my life. Always stood up for me, and anytime I was in trouble I would run to him and he would bail me out so to speak. Before he left us, he had a series of stays at the hospital. Bad heart. Towards the last of his stays he was in a wing where they didn’t allow young children there. I remember being snuck in just so we could see one another. We weren’t gonna let a crazy hospital rule like yah keep us from one another. He passed not too long after that. My best friend, gone, and one of the last images I have of him is him in a hospital bed with tubes hanging in and out of him. I still miss him today, almost 26 years later.

My next bad experience at a hospital came my freshman year. Woke up with stomach pains and after hours and hours at the clinic they finally told me I had appendicitis. My parents took me to the hospital and I couldn’t even stand up straight by that time. I remember vomiting outside the hospital when I got there. I also remember my brother almost fainting when they were drawing my blood and a little but squirted out on the floor. The thing I remember most is being wheeled into the O.R. I thought to myself, “What if something goes wrong. What if I just don’t wake up.” Not sure if that’s normal or not for people going into surgery but it hit me hard. I spend one night there. The doctor wanted me to stay a week and recover. I refused. I would rather clean my own wound and bandage myself at home than stay another sleepless night there. And that’s exactly what happened.

A little over two years ago I lost my grandmother. She was over ninety years old. That’s a long time without my grandpa. I knew she was past ready to go. She had already seen some of her own kids pass on. Can’t imagine that’s an easy thing to experience. And even though I knew that, it still was hard for me to see her with tubes stuck to her as well. They said when she passed she smiled. I can only imagine what she saw. They say Jesus is the first person you meet in heaven. Gotta be pretty awesome to see Him.

My next memory in a hospital shortly after that was actually a great one. My son was born months later. The best thing to happen to our marriage without a doubt. Can’t really complain about that memory. I can’t really speak for my wife and she had to feel the pain before, during and after with slight complications.

And now, tonight, I sit here laying in my mom’s room as she tries to rest, I think of all those times I’ve spent in hospitals and the memories that I will probably keep forever. I hope she gets out of here soon, and recovers fast from her surgery. I hate staying the night here, and I know I probably won’t get much sleep if any before having to go to work tomorrow morning, but this is my mom. The woman who sacrificed so much for us when we were kids. There’s absolutely nothing that I will not do for her. Nothing.

Attack of The Killer Hair

Attack of The Killer Hair. That’s what I’m gonna name my first big movie. It’s gonna be a documentary too. Not gonna be hard for me to shoot any of it, cause I got plenty of hair around the house to serve as props. Whose hair? Everyone’s hair! We have hair from different species all around us! Cat hair, dog hair, people hair…. I think I might have found tiny spider leg hair.

I find hair on my clothes everywhere. I find hair in my mouth. I find hair in my food. I find hair on my computers and game consoles. I find hair in my hair. I find hair that’s not mine while I’m showering, wrapped around body parts that should NOT have hair wrapped around them!

There is hair that is white, hair that is brown, orange, black, grey, red. It comes as a solid, comes as liquid when my cat decides to spit out and I’m sure if I tried, I’d probably find some in gas and gel form.

Not trying to lay the blame on anyone, or any creature because I know I find my tiny hair here and there as well. It just really seems like lately, it’s an everyday thing. I fear that I’m gonna wake up one morning and I will be drowning in hair. If one day I come up missing, you know where’ to find me. I’ll be the one trapped under 2 tons of hair. Bring the clippers and scissors.