Getting At It

Good morning y’all!  I’ve been thinking about a question lately.  What motivates you?  And what are you motivated to do?  Without even knowing it, I find myself motivated to be better in many different ways by many different things every day.  These things have changed over the years, actually.  As of now, and lately come to think of it, I’ve been motivated to live a generally better life by a few different factors.

First thing, and this has actually been on ongoing thing throughout my entire adult life, I’ve been motivated to live the best Christian life that I can thanks to my ever growing knowledge of my Catholic faith.  There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not either reading articles from the various councils throughout history, or a church doctor, etc. about my faith OR I’m listening to one of my 3 favorite shows on ETWN Radio (being Called to Communion [which I recommend to any non-Catholic AND Catholic alike], Open Line Monday & Thursday, and Catholic Answers Live).  I’ve learned so much and am still eager to learn about how to become a better Christian and a better overall person.  All of us can improve.  Nobody is perfect.

The second thing that I get motivated about is my health, specifically my weight.  Ever since the age of 7, I’ve had a weight problem.  I don’t really know what changed from that age, but it’s been something I’ve been trying to get a hold of for the better part of 15 or so years.  I had a great run about 6 years ago where I was well on my way to get down to my goal weight and got down to my lowest weight ever as an adult.  I messed it up by rewarding myself a bit too much, then going through personal situations and before I knew it, I was worse off than when I really decided to be serious about losing weight.  I always wanted to get back to that feeling of craving doing an hour or more on The Arc Trainer at the gym and seeing the number on the scale decrease every week, but I just let the good times take over.  It was only until I really maxed out in December of 2017 that I decided to say no more AGAIN and get myself back on track.  I had a 12 month kinda warm up, but I’ve really ramped it up this month and have gained that hunger, desire, and craving to get on that Arc Trainer every day and spend an hour doing cardio.  It’s gotten so good that I’m actively shunning cheat meals; cheat moments all together come to think of it.  I don’t want to get derailed for anything, and I’m feeling great about it.  I’ve already lost 15 pounds this month and each one of those pounds has motivated me to push even harder to get down to that lowest adult weight and break through that and get down to my goal weight.  It’s all motivated by the way my clothes are fitting, the way the numbers on the scale go down, and the way I mentally feel about it.  I feel awesome and I want to maintain that feeling.

The last thing I feel motivated about is my status amongst loved ones.  I have people that I care about and they motivate me to be a better person too.  I know that may sound strange to say that it takes another person or other people to make you want to improve, but it’s true in my case.  I have things to look forward to and the desire to be the best version of me that I can be motivates me to want to be better every day.

What motivates you?  Are you even motivated?  Or am I even weirder than I already knew I was?

Have an awesome rest of the week, friends!

Witness to (hopefully) Accidental Prejudice

I’m back!!!  A little later than I wanted to be, but that’s because life has had me tightly in its grips as of late.  There’s been a lot on my mind too, actually, but due to the respect that have for other parties involved in why there’s things on my mind, I’m going to try my best to keep those to myself.  I know that part is unhealthy, actually, because writing is my outlet and my main outlet to release those pent up emotions, but I can’t disrespect other people much on here, or anywhere else for that matter, which means that I have to find another outlet when other people in my real life destabilize my emotions.  Anyway, I’m going to try and make a quick observation here on something that affected me last week that I just can’t shake.

So, this thing happened to me last Monday in Boerne, Texas as I was going to prepare for the final 513 mile trek westward back to El Paso, Texas from my trip to Houston, Texas.  In case y’all didn’t know, Texas is a gigantic state.  LOL.  Driving to and from Houston takes 10 hours each way and it’s that short now because a lot of the time, the speed limit is now 80mph and just about 75mph everywhere else.  Before, when the speed limit was 65mph, you could expect a 12 hour drive and all within this one great state.  How crazy is that, right?  Anyway, on my way back from Houston, I had strategically set up my fueling stop in Boerne because according to my calculations ( in which I did not factor extreme wind blowing eastward and thus creating more friction for my truck to move through), I’d have more than enough fuel to drive the entire 7 hour trip on that one tank.  I wasn’t hungry waking up and didn’t get hungry until about 40 minutes into my drive back home, so by the time I hit Boerne (which is on the western edge of the greater San Antonio metroplex) I was starving.  I filled my gas tank up to the maximum amount it would let me and noticed a Whataburger (a Texas staple and tradition) across the freeway.  Of course I had to go.  Not that any one of the 25+ locations in El Paso wouldn’t fill my Whataburger cravings, but why have a more national chain restaurant’s food when Texas’ own would do, right?!  So, I got over there, ordered my food, got my soda, and sat down.  Naturally, I just looked around at everybody just curious as to the crowd that hangs out at that place.  After surveying the crowd a bit, I noticed two very young teenagers, no older than 18 I’d say.  One was wearing a trucker hat with some sort of company name on it and the other had a black trucker hat with these words visible as they were printed in white; “Build Wall” I could only assume that the word “the” was in cursive and another color I couldn’t see very well in between the words “build” and “wall”, but I will tell you that it just hurt me to see that.  Now, I know some of you may have conservative views on things.  Don’t get upset, I do as well on most things, but in this instance and the reason the phrase “build the wall” is now popular, I don’t agree with at all.  It’s actually as offensive as a racial slur/term to me because in all honesty it is.  The people wearing these hats or t-shirts or shouting it out either in real life or on their social media platforms have no idea about how life really is along the border.

In case you didn’t know, El Paso, Texas (where I’ve lived the past 36 or so years) is a border city.  We’re now the 7th safest city in the United States according to Safe Wise.  Until this ranking, we’ve been 1 or 2 for the past 10 or so years.  I will tell you, from living here the majority of my life that it is a very safe city.  All of the drug violence that occurred in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on the other side of the border only affected us twice from what I can recall.  Once, a bullet hit a building on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as it’s directly across from a very populated area in Juarez, and the second instance involved a stray bullet that struck a woman’s leg somewhere in downtown if I’m not mistaken.  That second one really can’t be attributed directly to the drug violence in Mexico, but the assumption was that the bullet came from over there somewhere.  That’s IT for the violence in the past God knows how many years, by the way.  Now, one could say that those were two incidents too many, but in comparison to what’s being portrayed about violent crimes here, as statistics show, we average 3.9 per 1,000 people.  That’s not really a lot.  Look again at that study as well.  Guess who’s number 6 on that list?  Yup, San Diego, California.  That’s another border city with Mexico.  Their violent crime average is 3.77 per 1,000 people.  So where’s the violence from Mexico?  Where are the rapes, beatings, and murders?  They don’t happen.  What’s the word?  Fake news.  That’s what that is.  Sure, violent crime does happen here, but it’s not because of any illegal citizens.  It’s simply American –v- American crime.  I’ll grant you that there is a language barrier, especially from downtown, into central, the lower valley, and into parts of the eastside of El Paso.  If you don’t at least understand Spanish, it would be best to be with somebody who did because there are a lot of Spanish speaking only people here, but since English is not the legal language here, it’s only frowned upon to not speak it.  I’ll be honest, it bothers me too sometimes, but it is what it is.  It’s not a criminal act.  As far as drugs go, yes, a lot of them go through the ports of entry, but those are the actual legal ports of entry that they get smuggled through.  They don’t go through gaps in the border wall, which I will also tell you that have been up here in the southern New Mexico/west Texas region for a long time already.  Nothing does, actually.  Thousands of people cross daily to and from our two cities/two countries legally via foot and vehicle traffic and we live in relative harmony.

I circle back to these two teenagers who obviously have no frame of reference as to what life is really like along the international border between the United States and Mexico.  That’s what really makes it sad to me.  There’s no reason to erect a barrier when one isn’t needed.  Sure, people do cross illegally into the United States from Mexico, but the vast majority of these people aren’t violent criminals and we’re not talking about thousands at a time all day every day.  If they do decide to try and cross, they are doing it in remote locations in Arizona where honestly they are risking their lives attempting to cross through there due to the harsh conditions and terrain.  It may happen with a larger frequency than some may be comfortable with, but we have Border Patrol agents who routinely go through that area and they do apprehend and deport the individuals they catch.  Same goes for the rest of the border between our two countries.  But a need to advertise slogans like “build the wall” insinuating that people from Latin American countries are ALL criminals and we need to erect some sort of great wall of America is just sad to me.  Hispanics, like myself, aren’t criminals just for being who we are.  Before you go barking out “Build the wall!” or putting it on your next social media post, just stop and think about what exactly you’re talking about.  Do you know the whole story?  Chances are you don’t.

Love and peace, y’all!

Seeing is Believing

Hey y’all!  I hope this blog finds you well.  As for me, things are moving along as per usual.  Ups and downs.  I’m making the gym a habit now and I’m feeling really good about it, so there’s one positive.  There’s a few negatives in there, but let’s not talk about those.  I’d probably get in trouble with some people if I did mention the downs anyway.  Which reminds me of something that I did too.  A few weeks back, I decided to disconnect my twitter auto-post thing from here on WordPress.  Since Facebook stopped allowing 3rd party posts themselves last year at some point, I removed my link from my homepage on there too.  I’ve figured that I’ve got no followers from either one of those social media outlets and I don’t think anybody there cares anyway, so I might as well make this my own little community too.  The links to my posts are still there on my twitter timeline, so if anybody really cares, they can go fishing and find links to posts there.

Anyway, today’s topic that I’ve had in my mind to speak of for the past 2 days or so is road trips!  Here’s a question for y’all… What’s your preferred method of traveling?  Plane, trains, automobiles?  (sorry, too good of a joke to pass up!)  I mean, say what you will about air travel, sure it’s the fastest way to travel as of yet, but there’s no fun it in when you get right down do it, right?  I mean, first off, you’re in a line with other people just to check in your luggage, and depending on your airline, you’re having to pay for that luggage to travel with you too on top of the cost of the ticket itself which is usually crazy expensive, then you have to deal with all of the security just to get to the gate, then you sit down in sometimes cramped quarters just to maybe see a glimpse of civilization happening 30,000 feet below you, but essentially see nothing but the general outline of the planet.  There’s no discovery of things, no exploration, it’s just sanitized bland travel.  For those with pressing needs to be from one place to another at long distances away, air travel is definitely the way to go.  Let me say, however, I’m not a hater of it, but I do love to discover things when I go to new or old places and I can’t really do that when I fly.  With that said, you can imagine what I prefer to do.  YUP!  That’s take road trips to my destinations!  Sure, I can’t always drive over to the places I’ve gone due to time constraints, but whenever possible, I drive.  There’s no phobia or any mental situation I have going on like some people have (look up John Madden and why he had a bus take him to all the NFL games he called), it’s just that I the journey to the destination is filled with so much beauty everywhere I’ve been, that I feel as though if I had done nothing but flown to these destinations, I would have missed so much along the way.

Taking a look at my google timeline, and my own memory before google started tracking where I’ve been; I’ve been in or driven through 20 of the lower 48 United States.  WOW.  Took me a minute to count to make sure, but yes!  20 states!  I’ve seen everything from sand dunes to beautiful forests, to beaches and everything in between and have loved every one of them.  I’ve also visited or at least driven by a number of national parks, forests, and monuments as well that have truly taken my breath away at times.  I even have gotten to the chance to see things along the road that have inspired movies, been in movies, etc.  For example, there is a motel in Holbrook, Arizona by the name of Wigwam Motel that was the inspiration for the traffic cone motel in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.  Instead of traffic cones, the real things are actually large concrete teepees!  How cool is that!  The even cooler thing is that a lot of the cars that were featured in the film, well their real life counterparts at least, are parked there at the motel too!  I came across the motel 2.5 years ago when I drove my friend from South Australia over to see the Grand Canyon.  We made an incredible drive from El Paso, up through a highway in New Mexico that ran through Gila National Forest and honestly some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen, into Arizona and the large national forest area and Grand Canyon National Park.  It was an amazing drive and actually come to think of it, I need to do it again!

That was just one of my trips.  The drive from El Paso (where I’m at) to Oceanside, California that I did last July was amazing as well.  I had no idea there was such a big farming and dairy area along the southern portion of Arizona on Interstate 8, but sure enough there is!  And the scenery is so amazingly beautiful along the way.  Once you get to and pass Yuma Arizona/California it gets even more amazing.  Sand dunes as soon as you cross the border greet you into California, then just as quickly you enter canyons in between mountain ranges, then enter a mountain range itself and climb and descend mountains through national forests until before you know you it, you’ve reach the pacific ocean.  Words can’t describe the beauty.

I could go on and on about the places I’ve driven to and the things that I’ve seen, but you get the point.  I’ve experienced nearly half of the country I live in a mile at a time and I’ve loved every minute of it.  I’m getting the chance to blaze a new trail today and tomorrow as I will be on my way to the greater Houston area, driving it for the first time.  I’ve spent a weekend there 10 years ago for WWE’s WrestleMania 25 that was held at Reliant Stadium and got to stay at a hotel downtown and saw a few things along their light rail, but I flew in there and out.  I’ve had connecting flights through both airports in the city a few times as well, but never have I driven from here to there.  And actually, the furthest I’ve driven east along Interstate 10 is a turn off to highway 280 that takes you into Fredericksburg, Texas (which is an amazing and beautiful little town in the Texas Hill Country), then into the southern edge of the state capitol, Austin.  So, now tomorrow morning, I’m going to break that barrier and traverse I-10 in through San Antonio (where I’ve only actually been in for a day as well during a senior band drum ensemble competition trip to Austin) and into Houston.  I’m so excited to see it all.  I’ll say that I’m actually more excited about whom I’m going to see over in Houston, but the drive out there is almost up there with the destination and the reason to go as well.

I hope you all have a blessed and great weekend!  I’ll blog again soon!

Creeping Death and Other Things to Ponder

Hey y’all!  I’m still processing the fact that we’re now in 2019.  What has happened to the time?!  I mean, I just turned 38 last month, but think about that… 1980 was damn near 40 years ago!  I’m still listening and prefer music from 1989 all the way back to the early 1920s!  Holy SMOKES.  The 1920s!  That was ONE HUNDRED years ago!  It’s hard for me to believe.  It really is.  I always envisioned the future to be, well futuristic.  LOL.  Maybe it is in comparison to the 1970s and 1980s with the tech I grew up with, but generally things are the same.

That idea of time I have which I could go into more detail about was brought on by a topic brought up to me yesterday.  Bucket lists.  Do you have one?  I thought I did for a second there, but I soon realized that I really don’t have one.  As Dictionary.com puts it, a bucket list is “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying.”  Right on Front Street, isn’t it?  I don’t know if this makes me even more weird than I know I already am, but I really don’t have goals that I want to achieve or things I want to experience by a certain age.  I find that putting things like that to strive for in the future just makes those things unattainable in a sense.  I lose my track in the present dreaming about the future and end up messing things up.  Does that make any sense?  It has happened too many times that I get distracted day dreaming about a possible future and end up messing something up in the present.  Plus, most of those things never came true anyway, so I figured why not live in the now?  Odd, right?  I mean, if I were pressed to say some sort of bucket list thing that I think could possibly be attainable or that I really want to do, it would be to visit Rome and The Vatican, specifically.  As a practicing Catholic, I should want to see that.  But those other worldly possession or vacation ideas that a lot of people strive for, I couldn’t care less for.  I know that may sound strange and out of left field, but it’s really how I feel.  I have no desire to climb a mountain, skydive, or do some other sort of potentially dangerous act.  I actually have a strong sense of self-preservation that keeps me from putting myself in too much of harm’s way.  Monetary desires, winning a lottery notwithstanding, are also out of the window for me.  I don’t strive to chase that extra dollar.  That’s not how God wants me to live.  What I need, He will provide.  I don’t need to worry, nor do I need to collect up treasures here on earth.  I have no desire to, either.

So what is it that I live for?  In a few words, I live for love, happiness, and comfort.  I want to give the people I’m close to all the love I can, and I want to be happy as much as I can.  I also just want to be comfortable.  Now, that last term can be a pretty broad one, I know, but comfort for me is more about peace than anything else.  I want to be comfortable with myself, with the people I associate with, with my surroundings, and with my life in general.  As long as all that is present, I want for nothing more.  I’m honestly a pretty simple person, actually.  I try to find the joy in everything that I do, even the most simple and boring of tasks.  I try not to dwell on the negative in life and I also try to live in the moment.  I have my good and my bad days, but for the last few years at least, I’ve had a lot more good than bad days.

On another topic that I have been thinking about, how do y’all feel about the typical adult tasks that we have to do?  I’m talking about cleaning, laundry, cooking, and shopping?  I’ve been in conversations recently where other people absolutely despise shopping and have gone out of their way as to do their grocery shopping online and picking it up instead so that they really don’t even have to do it at all.  Others I’ve heard of, for as old as they are, have no clue how to do laundry, clean, or cook for themselves and don’t have any desire to learn.  I find all of this to be insane in my point of view.  I know that I’m the weirdo, but one of the things that I like to do the most is to go grocery and other needed items shopping.  It’s fun to get dinner ideas, explore new items, and to just be part of society.  I know, as an introvert, I should be avoiding people, but I guess being in that environment, it makes me feel like I’m actually part of something.  Silly, I know, but I really just enjoy it.  As far as cooking and cleaning, man!  I have fun doing those things as well!  There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than that just cleaned house and laundry done and folded away feeling.  I look forward to that every week.  I like to have things in their proper place and clean at that!

So, I don’t know.  Am I the one in the wrong here to not have these grandiose ideas of wealth, fame, power, etc.?  Or am I in the wrong for liking to shop, clean, and do laundry?  Not in my personal opinion, because it’s what keeps me relatively happy, but I do think if I’m the exception to the rule in this world.

Talk next time, friends!