Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Can you guess who these two men are? 

People often tell me I look like one of these two guys. Then, they often call me, “Andy” or “Al.” I am not sure sometimes whether to take that as a compliment or find myself wondering if I’m the wise guy in the room. Al and Andy are two of the most famous living Hollywood movie stars of our time. Alfred Pacino or better known as Al Pacino was born and raised in Italy. While, Andrés Arturo García Menéndez was born in Havana, Cuba.

I am amazed how often people like to compare me to some person they recognize. I am far from looking like any of these dudes, who are famous for saying so little on screen. 

One of my favorite artists is actually this guy, Elvis Aaron Presley named after his father’s last name and his mother’s last name. Known essentially around the world as just “Elvis!” This is the guy that influenced the music I listen to. Is that wild or what?

My mom was a big fan of his music, so I grew up listening to it too. I like the simple melodies, words of romance and the country twang that made him famous. It was not only his music that influenced me but also his character. He actually talked to his fans and was never afraid to take pictures with them. He was a kind and gentle person, who really took an interest in his fans. I read many articles and books that would always say, he gave generously to people. If you visit the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, you can actually see some of the gifts he gave to President Nixon during his term. Did you know that Elvis had a twin brother? Sadly his brother was stillborn.

Do you know what these men: Al, Andy and Elvis have in common?

They are the most recognizable faces in the world. I admire their talents and performances because they know their craft so well. I can never do anything remotely close to what they have accomplished.  

The talents I have, I attribute them all to God. I can write an essay in less than 30 minutes, finish a book in one day, cook almost anything and clean almost anything. All these things I can do, I give thanks. The Bible says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” -James 1:17  We are to give thanks to God for all the good things we have. If we don’t, we’re selfish and prideful. This Christmas I am thankful to have two parents, a mother and father, who love me, along with a sister, who cares for me. I can thank the LORD God everyday for everything he gives me...whether I like it or not.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What a trip.

Just recently, my sister, Cynthia and I went to Orlando, Florida together to spend a short vacation.  This was the first time we had done something like that in more than 10 years.  We had many visits to Florida when we were much younger.  We were able to plan our vacation at the same time so that we would fly together to visit my relatives.  We got to visit my mother's side of the family, which included Grandma Rosita, Grandpa Roberto, Aunt Chela, Aunt Mary, Uncle Mark, Uncle Tito, Uncle Joe, and my great Uncle Ralph.  We didn't get to see Uncle Alex since he was traveling.  But, I did also get to see my cousins, who are so beautiful both inside and out.  I miss you already Jojo and TJ!

We had a fun time visiting, meeting new friends, and eating good authentic Mexican and Puerto Rican food.  We got to see spectacular 4th of July Fireworks and swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  We stayed out late at the Walt Disney Magic Kingdom and experience the World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure.  Very fun indeed.  I think my favorite part of this trip was when Cindy and I had the opportunity to ride the E.T. ride at Universal Studios Orlando.  They don't have this attraction in Hollywood anymore.  We had a nostalgic moment to re-live our childhood.  We grew up with characters like E.T. and Star Wars so we thought let's take a photo.

The greatest moment of all has been learning more about Cindy.  I always wanted to know how to love her more and pray for her.  This trip showed me that by the grace of God. We don't spend as much time as I would like anymore because of our busy adult schedules.  This trip was an experience she and I will always remember.

My experience was so wonderful because I got to learn more about my relatives too.  Lots of changes have happened since I last visited on my own more than 5 years ago.  Nonetheless, there were some things that had not changed.  They love to hug, kiss my cheeks and hug me some more.  I missed those affections so much, that I am thankful for that kind of love from them.  They demonstrate their love by having fun, sharing their life experiences and showing affections, which words can't describe. I hope to see them again soon.  Florida is their home. California is my home.  Two separate worlds, yet our love for each other will always be present no matter where we call home.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A true man of prayer.

I am thankful to have such kind people around me, who care for my soul.  James March is one of those men, who knows how to be a gentle man.  James has been one of the most generous men I know.  I met him in Sojourners, my Sunday fellowship group at Grace Community Church in 2009.  He is currently a student at The Master’s Seminary, which is one of the best Christian seminary schools in the world.  He has been a faithful man to the church and to me personally.  I have had many opportunities to be with him and his family, which includes his lovely wife, Julia and two little boys, Elijah and William.

James always has a smile on his face and ready to serve.  We have spent time talking about everything from marriage and raising children to searching for our God given gifts to serve the church.  James is a man of prayer and always extending himself to serve others.  He has demonstrated his patience and kindness towards others.  These are areas I need to work on because I’m not always patient or kind to others.  I am thankful to call him a friend.  A true gentlemen in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life is good.

Everyday people like to ask me, "How are you?"....my response is always, "good...real good."  Why wouldn't my life be feeling good I ask myself?  I have a great job, a loving family, so many dear friends, great health, food on the table, clothes on my back, and a solid teaching home church.  Frankly, I am better than I deserve.  The Lord continues to bless me daily.  For example, I was at a public park recently to meet a few neighbors in the area and the local police department.  Then, all of a sudden I see a familiar face at the park.  A television icon who was famous in the US and Latin America.  I was so surprised to see him.  I was a fan of CHiPs....remember that tv show?  The hit television program I grew up watching in the 80s.  I never imagined I would see Erik Estrada in person.  He was so pleasant.  There was a crowd of people surrounding him so I thought I don't stand a chance meeting him.  I was wrong!  He was so cool to allow me to stand next to him.  He said he was a fan of my blog.  OK, not true...but that would have made the experience just as cool.  No really, he was really easygoing.  He allowed everyone around him to take a photo.  He was so generous with his time. With such patience, he smiled to so many cameras...all for his fans.

How was I blessed?  It was not meeting this guy, who was the star of a former television show.  Actually my mom made me a fan.  Anyhow, it was something far more valuable to me.  You see I did not have dinner that evening so I could be at this public park for an event.  I had a full day and skipped my dinner hour.  Wouldn't you know it?  The local police department was hosting a dinner that same evening and they were giving away "free food."  That pleased my stomach.  I got to eat dinner at the right time and meet a real life icon, who was part of my culture.  A perfect example of the Lord's generosity in my life.

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth - Psalm 86:15

Saturday, March 5, 2011

God is faithful. He is so faithful when He hears my prayers. I know that He is active when listening to them because He is present. This was the wisdom I received from a woman, full of kindness, gentleness, and passionate about the things of the Lord. A very blessed woman, who mothered Natalie faithfully and also, cared for my soul.

I recently went through a trial, which showed me a lot about my walk with the Lord. I learned that I continue to have idols of the heart. The first commandment, which I memorized since I was 10 years old is “Thou shall have no other God before me”. God is not pleased when we have other idols before His throne. An idol can be just about anything we desire far more than our Creator. Our first and foremost love should be for God the father in heaven. Happy married couples I meet in church have shared this understanding too. Our prayers and requests are made known to Him through the son Christ Jesus.

For God gives and takes away...did you know that? Psalm 24:1 reads, “The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains… The world, and those who dwell in it”. Natalie and I ended our relationship, which lasted a year and half. A very sad time for the both of us yet we both acknowledge that God is in full control. Despite this grief, we rejoice in God because He is faithful to bring us peace in our hearts. I share this because I want my readers to know that I never proclaimed myself as being perfect or having a perfect life. I was born as a sinner and will die as a sinner. See Romans 6:23.

In the Old Testament, the book of Isaiah says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…” Paul the Apostle also reminds us that none are righteous.

Many who speak into my life remind me that God is sovereign for I am quick to forget. He knows the desires of my heart and will fulfill them as I seek Him first. God’s word says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

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