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MOM BOSS

TGIF! Time to see the family!

Family Photo

This picture is a pretty good depiction of our life right now. We squeeze in any chance we can to see each other and when we do, it’s a little wild and crazy.

I am so thankful for Annalisa who does it ALL Monday - Friday while I am gone (off at Medical rotations out of state). There are good days and there are hard days. Some days the kids are great, but sometimes Annalisa is up every hour with the baby and then chasing Bryer all the next day. She is an amazing mother and one of the most active moms I know.

When the weekend comes I catch the first flight I can out of Seattle to meet Annalisa. I stay as long as possible and catch the last flight coming back, usually getting back to my place around 1-2 AM. Then I start work the next day around 5:30 AM with shifts that go 12-16 hours each day.

But that is nothing compared to what Annalisa does! 16 hour days are long but 24 hour days are longer. As a mom of two boys, and one of them a newborn, it is a nonstop continuous shift of feeding, cleaning, chasing, disciplining, entertaining, changing diapers, and holding/rocking the baby, all on very little, interrupted sleep.

I know she loves being a mom, but just like any challenging job, it can be exhausting and stressful. I point these things out to say I have so much respect for this woman!

So then when I come home for 36 hours and I hold my baby for a bit, I find it hilarious when people say “Wow what an amazing Dad!”

Wait really? I hold my baby for an hour and I start receiving accolades. Not that I don’t appreciate it, I just don’t know if I deserve it when such a double standard exists. I get praised for working hard at my job that I clock in and out of, and get praised at home for doing 1% of what my wife does 24/7. I just know that Annalisa, and most moms in general, do not receive the same praise.

Moms need more respect, love, admiration, and praise, not just on Mother’s day, but as often as possible for their unceasing hard work and dedication.

But I especially want to highlight Annalisa who during this phase of our life has to do it alone (without me) 5 days a week. She is amazing!

JoyRock Family
Father son swimming

Annalisa really is a Proverbs 31 woman!

Proverbs 31: 10-30

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.

16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

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Blue Wolf Challenge

Based on everything I was learning about in school and inspired by my sister-in-law Ariana, I just completed my 21-day BLUE WOLF Challenge!

“So what is the Blue Wolf Challenge?” You ask… let me tell you:

no sugar

NO sugar, NO flour, and NO processed foods.  

processed foods
junk food

(There are a lot of these type of diets/ challenges out there, but I modified/personalized mine a bit, hence the name “Blue Wolf Challenge”. One such modification is that, every 7th day I took off. Come on, that’s Biblical right?!)

During the Restricted days it was:
NO sugar added to any meals or products
No ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS : Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet N Low, High-Fructose                           Corn Syrup, Corn-Syrup, etc.
No flour: That includes Pasta, Bread, Muffins, Bagels, Toast, Tortillas
No Chips, French Fries, Popcorn, Corn Tortillas
No Processed Snacks: Crackers, Chips, Pretzels, Gold Fish, Cheez-Its
No Beer

Drinks: No juice, coffee, alcohol, soda, milk, energy drinks,
Good drinks: Tea, Water, coconut water, fresh squeezed vegetable juice

coffee

WARNING: If you are giving up caffeine (which is a GREAT thing), you may get withdrawal headaches for the first couple days but if you can outlast a week you should be able to break your addiction to caffeine.

What to shoot for:
Vegetabels, fruits, legumes, lean meats, fish, NUTS, seeds, sprouts, whole grains ONLY (Brown rice, soy beans)

A lot of people knew I was doing this and the question I always got was, “WHY????”

Why give up sugar etc?

Let me answer your question, with a question of my own…  would you like ANY of the following?

More Energy?

Lose weight?

Sleep better?

Slow the aging process?

Better skin?

Decreased Asthma and/or Allergies?

If you said “yes” to ANY of the following, you could potentially benefit from this challenge.

Still not convinced to give this a try, there’s more!

Not only does sugar cause the obvious problems like tooth cavities and decay, but it has also been linked to impaired brain function, depression/anxiety, cancer, and heart disease.

As a future doctor I didn’t want to preach what I couldn’t or hadn’t already done myself. That is something that is very important to me.   

Have you ever met a doctor (or any health professional) who is super overweight and trying to council you on healthy living? How serious do you take them? It all goes back to not preaching what you don’t live out.

So how did it effect me?

At the end of the 21 days I lost a total of 13 pounds!

I started the Blue Wolf challenge with a day long fast of liquids only.

The first two days I was pretty hungry and even a little fatigued. This is when I realized this challenge is much harder than I anticipated.

I gave up my two favorite food groups: bread and sugar! I was already hard core craving both.

Only a few days into the challenge and I already felt like I was starving. But I knew I could power through. Mind over matter, right?

By day 3, Ariana asked me how I was doing and if I felt like my body was detoxing? I told her, “If detoxing feels like your body is shutting down 😝”

The good thing was that I had no headaches, which I was worried that I might. Honestly the hardest part was always trying to figure out what to eat without eating the same thing over and over.

During the first couple days Annalisa would unintentionally keep asking me if I wanted a bite of this or that, and I had to turn her down like 20 times a day. I’m sure she was probably getting annoyed with me because constantly throughout the days I was like, “No, I can’t eat that.”
I remember we were walking through Target and we wanted to get a snack. I don’t think I could eat anything on the menu. NO pasta, pretzels, popcorn, ICEEs, smoothies, etc.

The funny thing is you can still eat a lot! It’s just most people aren’t used to eating that way, and most places don’t cater to this type of lifestyle.

This “challenge” is funny, because it’s only a challenge due to the fact that we live in America in the 21st century and are addicted to processed foods. People 100 years ago would have been like, “ummm that’s what we do every day, why is that hard?” HAHAHA

This challenge forces you to plan ahead which is cool. You can’t be lazy and just grab something out of the cupboards.

However, if you do get lazy, and everyone does at some point, an apple with peanut butter (Organic Sugar free) or a handful of nuts is a great snack. Even sharp cheddar cheese with a green apple is really good. (Thanks Air for the tip!)

Side note on the peanut butter. I bought the “organic” peanut butter for the first time in my life, the kind that has just nuts and NOTHING else. I took a big spoonful of it and shoved it into my mouth thinking it would bring me as much pleasure as it used to when I did the same with Skippy peanut butter... WARNING, not the same!  I almost puked.

The organic peanut butter is good on stuff like celery and apples but not like you could sit around licking it off a spoon like the dessert peanut butter that most people eat.

After the first week of the challenge I lost EIGHT POUNDS! This was unintentional. I actually did not want to lose weight (but I guess it was okay since I had just finished gaining all that weight during the pound-for-pound challenge with Annalisa). Some people call this “water weight” which is in some sense true, but when you give up sugar for longer periods of time you don’t see the rebound of weight gain like you do with water weight changes. Instead you will see a rapid drop in weight and then a steady decline in weight (that is if you continue to eat healthy and exercise). It’s hard not to lose weight when you body is detoxing and getting rid of all the excess waste. And once I got over the sugar cravings, I wasn’t even hungry.

Best part (for those of you hoping to lose weight), I was able to eat ENORMOUS portions. If you look over my meal plan (see bottom of page) when I say bacon and eggs, sometimes I was eating 5 eggs and 6 slices of bacon. When I ate chicken and rice it was usually portioned for 2 and my salads were portioned for a party of 4.

That being said, there are 2 very important things to keep in mind:
I made sure to still exercise intensely at least 3-4 days a week at the gym, and was active at least 30 minutes everyday.
Every BODY is different. Just because one person’s metabolism works one way doesn’t mean you can eat the same portion size and get away with it. Listen to your body and find what works best for you!

Some additional takeaways…

During this challenge it really revealed to me how nonchalantly we ingest SO much processed foods constantly! I never realized how much processed foods I eat... Wow. I consider myself to eat healthy, but during these days I realized my daily diet was changing a lot based on my processed food intake alone!

The crazy thing is I wasn’t doing anything extreme. I was simply eating “from the ground” and food found NATURALLY without being processed (Just because it says “all natural” on the label does NOT qualify for being naturally from nature and free from processing. Actually 99% of the items in the store that are marketed as “100% natural” I could NOT eat as part of my all natural diet challenge. I think that just goes to show how messed up the advertising / food labeling is when it comes to deceiving their audience. Sorry for my rant).
Anyway, I’m back to my normal diet, but I have made some lasting changes. I now eat more vegetables and less processed foods, which comes much more naturally to me now than it did before (pun intended). I consume less sugar and can resist sugar cravings. I still allow myself sweets and am back to enjoying the deliciousness of Sea-Salted Dark Chocolate with Chopped Almonds (in moderation of course).

 

I would love to hear back what you think? Has anyone done something similar? How did it effect you?  Interested in trying? Let me know how it goes!

 

The rules to the Blue Wolf Challenge:

Day 1: Fast (Liquids Only)
Day 2-7: Diet restrictions
Day 8: Free day
Day 9-14: diet restrictions
Day 15: free day
Day 16-21: diet restrictions

Any Vegetable, but the best are:
Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Chard, Spinach, Cabbage, All Herbs
Above Ground Greens: Asparagus, Broccoli, Artichokes, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Onions, Cauliflower
Root Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Zuchinni, All Squashes

MEAT (All meat is allowed, but try to avoid highly processed meats like hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, etc.)
 Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Steak, Bacon, Ground Beef, Lamb,
    All Seafood and Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Tilapia, Shrimp, Oysters etc.
    Eggs from any animal

Nuts and Seeds are GREAT (just make sure no added sugar, and choose sea salt rather than just regular “salt” when possible)

All fruit, but these low sugar fruits are best: Green Apples, All Berries, Lemons and Limes

Good Fats:
    Healthy Oils: Olive, Coconut, Avocado, Macadamia, Sesame
    Hard Cheese: Parmesan, Bleu, Cheddar, Goat, Swiss, Gouda, Muenster, Provolone
    Full Fat, Unflavored, Yogurt

Beans are good. Some challenges/diets restrict beans, but all of my research has lead me to the belief that beans do the body good (unless you are a gassy type person, and then all those around you might not agree).
Beans are good because they can prevent heart disease, fight cancer, lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, and help you lose weight.
The negatives to beans is that they can interfere with vitamin absorption, cause migraines, raise blood pressure, trigger gout, and, as previously mentioned, can make you gassy.

So if you don’t have flatulence problems, or migraines / gout / high blood pressure, I recommend you eat them!

I included my day by day break down to give you an idea of things I ate. I wasn’t very creative and I know there are way better recipes out there. And a lot of times I meal prepped so I ended up eating the same thing several days in a row. Just wanted to show what I did for those of you out there who are curious.

Day 1: Liquids only! Veggie smoothie, chicken broth, 2 cups of tea, lots of water
day 2: Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, potatoes    Lunch: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico salsa, lettuce, and cheese.         Dinner: White, Chicken, Chilli soup. with a side of turkey
Day 3: B: Eggs/Bacon        L: Banana, almonds, cabbage salad (sugar free dressing)  D: lemon chicken, potatoes, brown whole grain rice, green beans
Day 4: B: homemade soup, green beans    L: almonds, chicken, brown rice, potatoes, cranberries, raisins,     D: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and cheese.
Day 5: B: turkey, cheese, and a banana    L: carrots, chicken, brown rice, potatoes,     Snack: sugar free peanut butter on an apple        Dinner: Egg noodles with chicken and fresh pesto sauce
Day 6: B: Banana, mixed nuts    L: chicken, brown rice, potatoes,  snack: apple with peanut butter, bowl of raspberries,    D: steak, onions, bell peppers     
Day 7: Eggs, bacon,    L: almonds, pear/spinach/berry salad, carrots    D: double double In-in-out burger with everything except bun.
Day 8: Free Day
Day 9:  Breakfast: turkey, sliced cheese    Lunch: Chill and baked potatoes    Snack: Veggie smoothie    Dinner: Chicken, grilled onions/bell peppers, brown rice
Day 10: Brunch: Chicken, grilled onions/bell peppers, brown rice, Avocado     Dinner: Souplantation
Day 11: B: almonds and strawberries,    Lunch: Salad, Tuna,          Snack: celery and peanut butter        Dinner: Egg noodels with pesto and tomato sauce
Day 12: B: Eggs and sausage    L: celery with peanut butter and raisins, sliced Salami and cheese, Cabbage Salad, Mixed nuts        D: Baked potatoes, Lemon-spinach chicken, brown rice, veggie smoothie    
Day 13: B: eggs and sausage    L: egg noodles with pesto, carrots, trail mix    D: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, carnitas, pico salsa, lettuce, and cheese.  Dessert: Fat free, sugar free yogurt    
Day 14: B: eggs, grilled turkey,    L: Broccoli slaw (no dressing), brown rice, chicken, spinach, potatoes    D: Carnitas, brown rice, beans,     Dessert: fat free yogurt
Day 15: Free Day
Day 16: B: Canadian bacon, veggie smoothie,    L: Salami, Cheese, Trail Mix, Carrots,     D: Flame Broiler: chicken, rice, veggies.
Day 17: B: Canadian bacon and eggs,     L: Carnitas, brown rice, beans, lettuce, cheese,    Dinner: chicken Caesar salad
Day 18: B: eggs, bacon    L: Veggie smoothie, grilled turkey, cheese     D: souplantation
Day 19: B: eggs, bacon    L: mixed nuts, raisins, salami, cheese, carrots
Day 20: B: canadian bacon, cheese, veggie smoothie    L: potatoe salad with onions, zuchinni, and avocado. Lentil soup    D: Chicken, rice    
Day 21: B: eggs, bacon    L: Salad, carrots, nuts, raisins, tuna        D: Soup, Salad

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Pound for Pound

Since today is the day Annalisa and I celebrate 125 months of love, I am going to take a moment to brag about how amazing she has been through this whole pregnancy.

First of all I just want to praise God for his abundant blessings. You can prepare/prep and do everything right and still have EVERYTHING go wrong. Thankfully, Annalisa has had a VERY healthy pregnancy and as far as we know our son Bryer has been healthy at every check up.

The human body is incredible and every day at school while studying the different organ systems we have been relating it back to embryonic development and pregnancy. It hits even closer to home for someone like me since I go home to my wife and watch her grow and change on a daily basis. Some of our favorite times is laying on the bed and watch her stomach move as Bryer practices firing his muscle and nerve fibers in a process called “quickening”.

But back to ANNALISA. This woman amazes me every day! I have always admired mothers for their “mom-strength”. I’ve always appreciated Annalisa’s drive and perseverance but its crazy to see how much stronger she gets each day. I’m just impressed with how much she can do and even when I know she is in pain, doesn’t complain and stays positive.

For the first 7 months of pregnancy she powered through weddings, photoshoots, and events no matter how tired, achy, and sore she was. There has been times on the ways to a shoot I have had to drive her because she was feeling so sick. We had to pull off the road so she could barf on the side. I would insist that she needed to cancel and reschedule the shoot, but NOOOO, she was going to power through. Besides she was booked solid and would feel bad for her clients if she canceled on an engagement shoot and then was not able to offer them photos because she had no free days. She was literally booked solid! And on top of that, some of the sessions she was doing for free for either family members, contest winners, and for monthly givebacks.

So, since there was no arguing with her, I kept driving her to her shoot… until she would whisper “pull-over” so she could jump out and vomit some more. But she made it. And at the shoots, the adrenaline kicked in. When I was able to go to her shoots I would watch from a far as she creatively captured her couples. I bet none of them even knew that she was sick because Annalisa was directing with I like to call “A-game”. She has a gift of being able to make people smile.  Annalisa makes people feel natural which a rare quality for photographers. Not only is she an amazing technical shooter, she also has the social gift to radiate joy and amiability into each shoot (which in my opinion is even more important). She also wasn’t afraid to get down in all the various positions to get that perfect angle. She climbed mountains and waded in water to capture some incredible photos.

I love how pro-active Annalisa has been through this whole pregnancy. She has read books, blogs, and talked to moms for advice. She preps in so many ways and I think it has really helped pay off to have a happy/healthy pregnancy. She has really enjoyed the whole process. But like I said before, we have to give God the glory because you could do everything according to the books and still be sick, immobilized, or have a complication that is completely out of your control.

I appreciate Annalisa taking the time to look up pre-parenting classes, hospital tours, and labor and delivery prep classes. At first I would go into these classes thinking “okay isn’t most of this stuff common sense” and when it had to do with medical terminology or health safety I would think “Oh I’m sure I have learned this in my Med school classes”.  But I wanted to have a positive attitude and told myself that I was going to try to learn at least one new thing at every class— one good take away point. But EVERY single time now I have come out with over a page of notes. Definitely recommend these classes. They are very informative and it is a great bonding time as husband and wife during this amazing journey.

Annalisa is one of the most active pregnant people I know. She isn’t a gym rat but she finds other ways to move her body and burn calories. She takes out our Fur-children Posey and Pepper around the Paseo or on hikes. Actually, I think we have gone on more walks/hikes since she has been pregnant than our entire marriage before. My favorite exercise Annalisa does is when she dances. I think she is the most amazing dancer and I love any time there is music that gets her moving. I always am torn between sitting back and watching her move and jumping up to join her (usually the latter is what ends up happening).

I still can’t get over how rare it is to hear Annalisa complain. I know she has been achy and tired, especially these past few weeks as we approach the end, but she always keeps a smile on her face and powers through.

Annalisa never used “pregnancy” as an excuse. If anything, she used it to better herself. I have heard stories of people eating whatever they want (and however much they want) and blaming it on pregnancy cravings.  Yes, obviously Annalisa has eaten more since being pregnant but not in excess. Even though she LOVES brownies, she never ate a whole pan (even though she probably could have LOL). Instead she would fill up on something healthy prior to giving into a sweet tooth craving. She added things into her diet that before she was not too fond of. She now eats spinach on practically a daily basis (PS a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet is just throwing a handful or two of spinach/kale/leafy greens into your smoothie. You won’t even taste it, but your body will be happy). She rarely eats out and when she does it is typically something I would consider healthy any ways. Annalisa also stopped drinking soda and is making sure to drink lots of water throughout her day.

Annalisa has recently entered into the “nesting” stage. I don’t think she made a conscious change but I noticed. She has always been really good about keeping up with the house and cleaning but now I couldn’t find a dog hair if someone paid me (and that’s saying A LOT when you have two indoor dogs running around all day!). She has also completed the nursery and made she her hospital bag is packed and ready. If I’m ever home and not sure where Annalisa is, I head over to the nursery and sure enough I can find her in there working on something.

Aside from running her photography business, prepping the house, and exercising, she also takes care of me! She cooks me the most incredible meals and always makes sure I am well taken care of. She invests time into our relationship to make sure that we are still growing in our relationship even in this busy time of prep.

And then there is the glow!

Come on, how gorgeous is this lady! She just gets more and more beautiful every single day. I just stare at her all the time and think, “Wow, how did I get so lucky?”

So when Annalisa first got pregnant we made a pack to go “POUND-for-POUND” with each other. She didn’t want to look/feel large next to me (or be heavier than me), even though she knows it is a natural and womanly process. I think she exemplifies grace and beauty but I also understand how critical women are of themselves. So I was going to try to gain a pound for every pound that Annalisa gained throughout her pregnancy. We approximated that she would gain 25 pounds since that is the healthy average weight gain for a full term pregnancy.

She is now about 3 weeks from her due date and has gained about 22 pounds! WOW! I’m thinking she will gain about a pound per week during these weeks of pregnancy which would put us exactly 25.

For those that don’t know me, my genes don’t correspond with weight gain very easily. I have tried to gain weight in the past and the most I have ever got up to was about 165 pounds.

But somehow I have been able to do it!

During these past months I have been able to gain 25 pounds! I am the heaviest I have ever been! POUND-for-POUND mission accomplished.

Somehow even with gaining 20+ pounds, Annalisa looks sexy as ever. Just look at those legs and arms! Are you kidding me?

I could rave about her physical beauty incessantly but the inner beauty is even more magnificent. She is sweet, fun, and so up-lifting. She makes me laugh more than anyone and makes me feel so appreciated. She is inspiring and supportive throughout every stage of life. We are so excited for our new bundle of joy and I can’t wait to see Annalisa holding our baby. She is going to be the best mom in the world!

Annalisa, I love you so much!

Happy 125 Months of love!

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Goals 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

 

I love this celebration. We can look back on all the blessings from the year before and anticipate what’s to come.

I also love this time, because during this time of reflection I take part in the goal setting that so many others do.

I know some people hate this tradition…
Why don’t they just do these things throughout the year?
People always start their goals but then stop after the first couple weeks.
I don’t want to feel disappointed.

If you don’t like it that is fine, but I have found it to be very beneficial for me. I have found that being strategic about your goal setting will help you not only to achieve your goals (and know whether or not you have achieved them) but also help you have a more successful year over all.

I tell people to make categories and set SMART goals.

SMART Goals
S: Specific (Be specific! “Be a better husband”. Okay. What do you mean by that? Be better at apologizing? Take your sweetie on more dates? If so, how often? Find time to prioritize her above other things? How so? Be better with chores? Which ones? Bring her more flowers? How often? What is your goal? Be specific!)

M: Measurable (Make it quantifiable! “Get in better shape”. What do you mean by that? Do you want to lose weight? If so, how much? Do you want to get stronger? If so, how will you quantify that? By how much you can lift? How fast you can run? Studies show that you are much more likely to achieve your goals if you make them measurable.)

A: Attainable (How will you attain your goal? Is it practical? In trying to achieve your goal does it make you a better person and/or help others? Or would attaining this goal to more harm than good?)
 
R: Realistic (Similar to attainable, yet more focused on whether or not it is achievable. Set goals that are within reach otherwise you will be too discouraged or frustrated and may give up before you even get close. I’ve heard the expression, “shoot for the moon because even if you miss you’ll end up among the stars” and there is some truth in that. But if the “moon” is not realistic for YOU, you will experience failure to launch and not get anywhere.)

T: Time (When will you complete these goals by? So you were specific and quantified that you want to lose 25 pounds this year… does that mean you want to lose 2 pounds per month? Or asses it on a quarterly basis and try to lose 6-ish pounds every 3 months?)

I know this is not a revolutionary idea and that there are similar acronyms out there but that is the one that I use.

The categories I use are: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical, Financial, Work, and Other.

Let me give you examples of each with my goals for this year…

Spiritual:
Here is a few I have from this category for 2016…
-Pray with my son every night
-Start each morning on my knees and in prayer
-Do at least once a week Devotion with Annalisa
-Find a home church in San Bernardino County.

Emotional:
For this category it can be something you want to work on yourself personally (such as patience, anger, stress management, etc) or could be with the relationships between you and others. For example:
-Be the first to apologize after arguments (let go of pride)
-Take Annalisa on a date at least once per week
-Call parents at least once per week to check in and to say I love you

Mental:
For this section I include any goals that will make use of my brain. In the past I have included things such as learning a new language/instrument, achieving, a certain GPA, or the amount of books I want to read in that year. This year most of my mental goals are Med school related (go figure):
-Be ranked in Top 10 in my class
-Get published in a Science Magazine
-Become President of an on campus club

Financial:
Seems pretty straight forward. I have had a variety of different types of goals such as how much I want to earn, save, or donate in that year. I will maintain discretion for this category, but message me if you want more detail, tips, or anything else.

Physical:
I have a lot of fun with this section. I know some of these are not very impressive and most readers could probably do these at ease but for me this helps me stay in shape and have fun with it. Otherwise going to the gym everyday would get pretty monotonous. Now I have games to play as I try to hit certain numbers throughout the year.
-Break world record in 1-minute ball pushups
-Run 1-mile stairs in under 7:30
-Run Cowles Mtn under 18:00
-Row 2000m in under 7:45
-Bar Hang 2 minutes
-500m swim in under 9:30
-1 mile run in under 6:00
-Bike 2.5 miles (if on stationary bike level 10) in under 6:30

Work:
Work is much more fun (and productive) when you have goals you are trying to achieve throughout the year. My real estate goal:
Sell $xx,xxx,xxx.xx worth of real estate (yes, there is an actual quantifiable/attainable number there. Just using discretion).

Random:
This is another really fun category, but oh so important. You need this area of your life. In the past I have had things such as “See the Eiffel Tower”, “Go to an international Disneyland”, “Start a Blog”, “Learn middle splits and handstand pushups”.  For 2016, here are a few of mine:
-Take Posey/Pepper out 3x per week
-Travel to Yosemite
-Travel to a new country

It is also fun to look back on the goals from the previous year to see how many you accomplished and what areas of your life still need some work.

For my 2015, I achieved 16, and fell short on 27 of the 43 goals that I set.

Here are some of the ones I achieved:

-Get Annalisa Pregnant
-Wash/Rub Annalisa’s Feet at least once a week
-Get an A in my last two classes (O-chem, Physics)
-Take time for a quiet time at least once a week
-Save $xxx,xxx before starting school
-Complete over 15,000 Pullups in a year
-Bike 2.5 miles in under 7:30
-Sell over 2.5 million worth of real estate
-Tutor over 15 Private long term students
-Continue to work at the hospital 2+ days/week until Aug.
-Travel to at least 5 new countries (Went to Netherlands, Italy, Greece, France, and Switzerland).
-See the Eiffel Tower
-Start a Blog
-Walk dogs 3 times per week
-Find Annalisa a Piano Tutor
-Learn Harmonica

 

Good luck with your goal writing and please let me know what you think! Happy New Year!

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4D Sonogram: ProLife vs. ProChoice

Just went to our 4D sonogram last week. Absolutely incredible experience watching my unborn son smile, move his arms, and dance around inside Annalisa.

The most important thing in life is life itself. You really can’t say anything else. If you say love is greater than life, how can you love if you aren’t alive?

It makes me wonder how anyone could be opposed to ProLife???  If you don’t support ProLife, that would make you ProDeath.

I’ve always known what I believed, but going through this pregnancy with Annalisa has made everything so much more real. It is crazy to me that people are allowed to kill little, fully functioning babies.

An UNBORN baby has all of its internal organs after only 8 WEEKS! I could go on and on about the beautiful and incredible developmental process, but I’ll just cut to the chase and say these are little people that we are deciding to “terminate”. I get there are rare exceptions that make this an actual debate. “What if the woman was raped?” or “What if the mother’s life is in danger from an ectopic pregnancy?” This are true controversial topics and to these I honestly don’t have an answer.

However, these are the EXCEPTION, not the rule. LESS than 1% of all abortions take place because of rape and/or incest. Here are all the other reasons for abortion...97% of the millions of other abortions are due to reasons such as “not ready for the responsibility”, “life would be changed too much”, “inadequate finances”, “too immature” (yes, 11% of people actually cited this as their reasoning to kill someone), “I already have all I want” (ugh, 8% of people gave that selfish response), and “problems with relationships”.  People seriously! We are letting millions of abortions happen for these reasons.

I would much rather be accused of anti-choice than Pro-death. But the crazy thing is I am ProChoice. I’m both! ProLife and ProChoice. Every woman has a choice (aside from rape). If you choose to have sex you know there is a chance for pregnancy! It is YOUR CHOICE if you want to have unprotected sex, or even sex at all. There is a sad, startling fact that by age 45 one third of American women will have had at least one abortion... 😟  

I will say one final note… 3% of people cited reasons for abortion because the baby was noted to have possible health problems. I still don’t think that is a reason for abortion. I have seen real life examples of why this could be a terrible mistake. I know a woman who was told that she should have an abortion because her daughter will be born with extreme retardation and never be able to live a fully functioning life. The doctor highly recommended an abortion. Thank God this woman stood firm and refused. The doctors were wrong. This baby was born, never had any problems, and grew up to be one of my friends who is one of the smartest/ most athletic people I know.

Let’s not dance around this debate because of the exceptions in life which occur LESS than 1% of the time. Some things in life we do not have a choice in and no one seems to have a problem with it. Stealing is illegal. Abuse is illegal (you don’t get to say, “It’s my CHOICE how I raise my kids”. If you are physically abusing your kids, you can end up in jail for 10 years or more You can’t make the argument that it is your choice aka Pro-Choice).

Murder is illegal, you have no choice in that. Killing babies in utero should be illegal too.

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WPBS Farewell Ball

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WPBS Farewell Ball

Two weeks ago our WPBS (Wolf Pack Bible Study) had a farewell ball, as Annalisa and I prepare to leave for LA.

Awkward Prom pose LOL

Awkward Prom pose LOL

Let me just start by saying I feel so blessed and am SO incredibly grateful for all the amazing people God has brought into my life.

There was so much detail put into the whole night, I can tell they spent weeks planning and prepping for this event. And with over 60 people in attendance, it was like a small wedding.

It started with the Red Carpet entrance to the magnificently decorated house. The Sleepy Castle (the Spiering House and new home of WPBS) had all of the furniture moved out of the living spaces. Half of the house was devoted to a banquet style formal eating area with personalized name tags for each person. The other half the room was dedicated to the dance floor area complete with balloons, glitter, balloons-with-glitter-inside, and even a disco ball. 

The whole room was laden with hundreds of pictures of memories from the Bible study family. There was also a photo booth complete with props (more pictures to follow at end of blog).

To be completely honest, I was stunned. When they told Annalisa and I about it, they made it sound like instead of having Bible Study we were just going to have a dance as a going away celebration. They did say to “dress nice” but I had no idea how over the top they were going to go. I should have known my friends would go above and beyond. God has blessed us with the most amazing community group.

It was fun seeing everyone in their glamorous getups. Most of the ladies wore dresses from their high school prom days. Some of the dresses saw the light of day after being neglected for over a decade! (Props to all you ladies; just shows what amazing shape you all are in!)

Annalisa looked absolutely stunning (obviously! When does she not?). I know I am biased but seriously she is the most beautiful woman in the whole world. I am so lucky! One of my favorite parts about Annalisa’s dress is that she thought about my so much when picking it out and wore my favorite color. (Sweet and sexy).

In the beginning (cocktail hour) we had hors d’oeuvres and greeted people as they trickled in. Then we were asked to find our seats before being dismissed by tables to get food. They had Olive Garden catered because it is one of Annalisa’s favorite restaurants. Nice touch!

They even went as far as to give speeches, toasts, and (went too far by) knighted us king and queen.

I felt honored and humbled at the same time. Honored because how can you not feel loved from such a wonderful group of people. Humbled- and quite frankly embarrassed- because I of all people am least deserving of standing in front of the group. I am the one that was so blessed and fortunate to have these people to carry me through each and every week for the past 3 years. These are the people that encouraged me, held me accountable, and taught me new life lessons each and every week. I should be giving a gift and highlighting every single person in the room for how, through the power of Christ, they have influenced, shaped, and ultimately changed my life.

I had no idea this was coming, otherwise I would have had my retaliation speech ready.

Anyway, after dinner (and one of the best cakes I have ever tasted from Nothing Bundt Cakes) we danced the night away.

For those of you who don’t know me, dance is my life… or so I say. But honestly, once the music started I never wanted to leave the dance floor. Annalisa made me wear white. I told her that would be a mistake. I knew how much I would sweat and an hour into the dancing I felt like I was having a wet t-shirt contest against myself.

I also love dog piles and crowd surfing. I’m not sure who all got lifted up throughout the night but I distinctly remember carrying Troy on my back at one point.

Darrin helped lead everyone through several line dances. Uptown funk was such a hit that it got played twice.

Sexton had a dance battle against Josh and Darryl.

Richard Spiering (most amazing host/man ever!) led us all through jazzercise dances.

The night ended with (a surprisingly large late night crew considering it was a week night) everyone singing Disney songs and switching slow dance partners around the room to our favorite laid back classics.

This night exemplifies what I have been learning the past 3 years: the importance of community. Everyone matters, not one person supremely. None of us make sense on our own, it is all of us together.

As Journey Church Pastor Ed Noble would say, “All of us together is Jesus in the flesh.”

We weren’t meant to do life alone. In Galatians 6:2 it says, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

If you are not a part of our a community group I urge you to do so. God has blessed us with a spacious new location and would love to see new faces. Or join another group. There are hundreds around San Diego, but it requires a step of initiation on your part. Sometimes it is hard to take the first step, to reach out, to try something new— but trust me, you will NOT regret it! Don’t just take my word for it. Ask any of the WPBS members who can tell you what an impact it has made on their lives. And one more word of advise… don’t just come one week and then give up. Try consistently showing up for 4 weeks in a row and if you don’t feel like part of the family after that, I’ll personally treat you to lunch!

Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Don’t let another day slip by without becoming more involved in others’ lives, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what your status is, what number is in your bank account, or even how much security you think you have acquired. The only thing that matters is relationships, and none more important than that between you and the Creator.

Thanks for reading!

More pictures from my favorite Prom party ever...
 


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Kylie

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Kylie

Kylie Strong

Happy Birthday Kylie!

Kylie, you have touched the hearts of thousands of people. But I shouldn’t use the word “touched” because it is past tense. Correction: You TOUCH the hearts of thousands and your legacy continues to shape, mold, and grow others including myself.

Is it weird that your love for a person can grow even after they pass? I have always loved baby Kylie, but somehow I feel my love has even grown stronger. She continues to teach me things about life even though she is far younger than I.

These are just some of my thoughts and feelings as I reflect on the beautiful Kylie Rowand and all that she has taught me (and continues to teach me). I wanted to share this is because originally I didn’t know how to comfort someone going through heartbreak or death of a loved one. I know I would have found this helpful and my hope is that maybe someone else will feel the same. And by no means do I think I have mastered any of this in anyway.

Kylie Strong

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be terrible at comforting others. I just thought I would share some of what I have learned along the way.

There are (and will be) highs and lows every day following the death of a loved one.  

Anyone who hears of Kylie’s story is heartbroken. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I’m no stranger to Kylie but I’m not the parents either: I’m the uncle.

There are no magic words to take the pain away, but there are definitely expressions to steer away from.

Things I have learned to avoid: “Back to normal” and “getting over it”.

Prayers for Kylie

When someone loses a child, there will never be a “back to normal” or a way to “get over it”. Losing a child transforms a person for life. So instead of expecting the grieving parents and relatives to go back to normal, your support should be directed toward who they are becoming. Rather than likening the grief to a physical illness that we can recover from, it should be thought of as a life-changing physical injury.

“How are you?” In our culture this is such a commonplace greeting that it’s hard not to let it slip out. But really this should be avoided. Obviously, they are doing bad. A child just died. So when you ask that question what kind of response are you really looking for? What you really mean is I care about your well being, so find a way to express that without asking the obvious, and almost offensive, question. It’s hard enough as is. Don’t make them answer that awkward and ill-timed inquiry.

Refrain from, “I know how you feel.” Unless you have had a child die, you probably don’t know how they feel, and it sounds presumptuous to say so.

Trent and Kylie

DON’T say, “It was God’s will” or other cliche churchy expressions. This is a harmful one that I have heard Christians use with the best intentions in mind but the worst outcomes. These words don’t make it alright that the child has died and quite frankly, I believe they are wrong!

God doesn’t want death. He is the one who offers eternal life. He sacrificed His son so that we could have life eternally, and live life on Earth to the fullest.

What God does do is take a terribly tragic situation and bring as much light and beauty as possible. God does not create evil. God takes evil and uses it for good.  So even if God brings miracles and changed lives through it, it is NOT God’s will for a child to die. So don’t say it.

Definitely AVOID, “At least you have your spouse,” or if applicable, “At least you have other children.” This should be obvious. You should never try to minimize a child’s death by counting your blessings.

I don’t know who the heck says this but I caught wind of someone telling a grieving mother, “At least you are young enough to have more children.” Seriously? Not helpful.

Everyone will handle it differently and there is no need to pass along judgements about what is appropriate or how they should be healing. Don’t critique if they display “too many photos” thereby idolizing the child, or “not enough photos”. Seriously, I don’t know why you would need to critique anyone about these things but it is some of the expressions I have heard.

Bottomline, if you have never lost a child, it’s incredibly difficult to know what to say to someone in that situation due to the nature of the tragedy. It is unnatural and unfair.

So, what to say?

Sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all.  Learn to be comfortable with silence and just be present with those who are grieving. Sometimes people need the silence and sometimes that gives them a window to open up about feelings. It can be cathartic.

Some people are afraid to bring up those who have passed because they don’t want to hurt those grieving. Yet often they need and want to talk about their loved one. Don’t treat those who have passed as taboo words. When appropriate feel free to bring up memories or stories if you knew the person. If not, don’t be afraid to ask gentle questions to get to know them better.

Don’t be afraid to cry. Your tears are a tribute to both to those who have passed and the grieving ones who are left behind. However, just make sure that your grieving is not so intense that those you went to comfort are now having to comfort you.

Side note about crying: Even though it is a normal response to sadness, it isn’t the ONLY response. Just because someone is not crying (or crying as much) does not mean they are not sad. They may feel the pain just as deeply as others but have different ways of showing it.

Sometimes a hug or loving touch is all that will suffice. Your presence is what matters most.

Don’t be afraid of laughter. It helps heal the wounds.

Expressions that are almost always okay:
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“I’ll call you in a few days to check on you.”
“You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”
“I love you.”  

Something I’ve learned through this experience is don’t say to the grieving family, “Call me if there’s anything I can do for you.” That call will probably never come.

I’ve been guilty of saying this dozens of troubled people in my life. But as I deal with my own anguish of Kylie’s death, I have had multiple kind hearted people offer up these same words to me. Yet, even though I am sad, I would never actually call upon these people. I didn’t want to inconvenience them, even when it was something I felt like would really help.

The best thing to do is take initiative. Find out things that the grieving family needs and do it. Start with the basics. Help out with chores, errands, and basic necessities. So when you find yourself about to say these words, instead figure out what needs to be done, and do it. Just know your boundaries of course. The better you know someone the more initiative you can take.  If your invitation is initially declined, don’t give up!  

A hand written card sent in the mail is also a very nice gesture.

Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, just letting someone know you are thinking about them can mean a lot.

Everyone grieves differently. Even though grieving is an individual and highly personal experience, love is a universal language that we all can speak, and as humans we all crave.

The biggest mistake you can make is not knowing what to do or say, so not reaching out at all.

The beautiful part about my faith in Christ is that even though I miss Kylie, I don’t have to be stuck in a state of permanent sadness. In fact, when I think of Kylie I can truly rejoice knowing that she is in a much better place than I am. I hear that expression thrown around a lot when it comes to tragic situations such as these, but with a solid faith in our Creator I’m not just saying those words for comfort, but with genuine meaning.

It is my faith in a loving and ever-faithful God that enables me and all those around me to recover from the death of a child.

This reminds me of a story in the Bible from 2 Samuel 12.  King David (yes, the same David who killed Goliath) had a child who had fallen deathly ill from sickness. He mourned, fasted, prayed, and wept the entire time his child was sick. He begged God for healing and had all his attendants do everything they could. Yet, the child died.

This is how David responded (2 Samuel 12:20): “Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.”

The part that stood out most to me was that he “went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” Honoring God after a crisis sometimes can be very hard to do but it is an important and powerful demonstration of our spiritual confidence in our God. David turns loose what he cannot change.

David’s servants were stunned by his behavior and asked him about it. David’s response from 2 Samuel 12:23 is powerful:
“Now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

David was fully confident that he would see his son again in heaven. It does NOT mean David didn’t grieve. He just grieved differently than someone who does not believe in life after death.

Face the future with hope. Recognize that we are not alone. We have God who promises us life and we have each other. WE need to lean on each other to help us recover.

I’m trying to learn from David’s example. David worshiped the Lord in his time of deepest sorrow. We need to give God what we cannot change. Worship the Lord for restoring Kylie. Praise God that death is not the end, but only the beginning. I am fully confident that I will meet Kylie agin in heaven.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 2:14

 

Also, please check out my wife’s blog and thoughts about Kylie: analisa-joy.com/kylie

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The Tongue: The Untamable Beast

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The Tongue: The Untamable Beast

long tongue
human long tongue

The tongue is the most powerful part of the human body. Obviously it helps us breakdown and taste food but also helps to talk, spit, swallow and even kiss.

Zipper tongue

According to the bible taming the tongue is one thing that EVERYONE struggles with. I’m going to repeat that because this is a big deal: EVERYONE struggles with taming the tongue.

It is interesting because we know while some people struggle with alcohol abuse others do not. Some struggle with lust/pornography addictions, others do not. Some struggle with pride, some with envy, some with lying, some with drugs, some with self-centeredness, some with anger,… but EVERYONE struggles with what comes out of their mouth. Don’t take my word for it, look at James chapter 3:2

For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We are going to look further at James chapter 3, but first 5 fun facts about the tongue:

tongue print

1) Tongueprints, which are actual tongue imprints, are as inimitable and unique as fingerprints and could be used in the same way to identify and distinguish every person in the whole world. Everyone differs in the size, shape, and number of taste buds.

2) The average person speaks 12,000 sentences a day, with an average of 50,000 words. If we were to put all these words on paper it would be enough to write a 150 page novel every single day.

doctor say ahhhh

3) When you go to the doctor often one of the first things they will have you do is open your mouth and say “ahhhhh”. Why? So they can examine your tongue.  The color of the tongue can tell a lot about a person’s health.
Typically: Pink Tongue = Good Health; Yellow Tongue = Stomach Problem or Fever; White Tongue = Fungal Infection.

healthy tongue
yellow tongue
gross tongue

4) The tongue has a really really rough texture. Maybe not as rough as a cat, but next time you are kissing someone take note of the rough texture of the tongue. You will notice most when you compare it to the smooth texture of lips or the skin of ear lobes.

tongue myth

5)Everyone that remembers their biology class diagrams probably remembers those tongue maps that show how you can taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami are different parts of the tongue. Despite the popularity of these pictures, this is largely rubbish. Most people can taste all different types relatively equally across the tongue. LiveScience confirms this but just in case you don’t believe me, you can put it to the test. The front of your tongue is supposed to be used for detecting sweetness… put some salt on the “sweet” receptor and see what happens.  Taste salty? So much for that myth. See ya!

James 3:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

James starts off with a warning. Why? He is not discouraging people from spreading or teaching the gospel. He just wants to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you are doing it for popularity or to make yourself look better in front of others, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. You will be judged more strictly for these teachings than any other way you use the tongue.

The second verse just confirms what I first said about the tongue being the impossible part to control.

It’s crazy that this 3 inch piece of muscle can control our whole lives! Actually, I guess it makes sense.

Look at James 3:3-4
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.

In a same way the tongue guides, shapes, and directs the course of our life.

Let’s continue, James 3:5-6
In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

Whoa! Intense words at the end there. But completely accurate and perfect analogy. Think about it. Like a single spark that causes a forest fire, the same thing can happen in our lives. A single white lie can grow and expand until it becomes full-fledged deceit. A harsh word or comment towards a friends can cause a fight that leads to alienation or even a new enemy. A small piece of gossip you start (or help spread) can build momentum like a snowball until like an avalanche it come crashing down on the person whom it centers upon, wrecking havoc on their life.  

tongue of fire

Let’s reemphasize why it is so important to focus on the tongue each and everyday. Read James 3:7-8
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

Poison! Another great analogy. Why do people use poison rather than a machete or machine gun to kill someone. Because poison is subtle.

In the same way, we often don’t realize the subtle power our words have over people and on ourselves.

And finally, check out James 3:9-12
Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Isn’t it crazy that out of the same mouth (and with the same tongue), we praise our heavenly Father and slander people created in HIS image. Think about that the next time you want to make fun of the way someone looks.  They were created in the image of GOD! How dare you slander His creation, let alone the creation made in His image.

The takeaway message:

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that the tongue is untamable. Rather, know that through the power of Christ we can strive to become masters of the tongue. Focus daily on your words and how you are using them.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:37:
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

At the end of time, everyone will be accountable for every word they said. Knowing this is a great reminder for me to guard my tongue and follow after the wise words of James 1:19:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.


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Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo

Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

cinco de mayo
cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a deceiving holiday because even though the name is in Spanish, it is mostly celebrated by Americans.

Many of us will go out today, eat some tacos or other traditional Mexican food, and use this “holiday” as an excuse to consume more alcohol than the ordinary day would allow.

On top of that, a few of us (like me) use it as an excuse to dress up.

But how did this day, Cinco de Mayo (which means 5th of May in Spanish [and if you didn’t know that, I feel really bad for you]) come to be?

While you are out celebrating today, ask those around you what today is celebrated for?

 I can bet you will get a lot of “I don’t know” and a few who say, “Mexican Independence day”.

Wrong.

Mexican Independence day is celebrated on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the miraculous victory for the Mexican forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico was having difficulty repaying war debt that was owed to a majority of Europe and so the French army, led by Napoleon III, invaded.  Even though the French army was far superior in numbers and equipment, the Mexican forces were victorious at the Battle of Puebla. Unfortunately, this only temporarily halted the French army, who after receiving reinforcements proceeded to conquer the capital and take control of Mexico. It wouldn’t be for over 5 years that Mexico would regain control.

battle of puebla

This day was traditionally celebrated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as a reminder of how many times Mexico has been invaded by other countries and yet on this day they overcame the odds and were victorious. But now it is more of an American holiday than a Mexican one because the holiday has in large part lost its roots and meaning.

So now you know.

How will we apply what we have learned to our lives?

1 Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Any time there is a cultural holiday or national event it is a good reminder to pray for one’s country or specific cultural group. Even though there is no direct religious significance tied to Cinco de Mayo, we can take time to reflect on God’s blessings on our country.

Praise God for our religious freedom here in the United States. Thank the Lord that we are not being bombed and invaded by other countries wondering if we will even live through the day. Pray for the people in Mexico whose government has been corrupted by the powerful drug cartels and other groups of organized crime. Pray for leaders with unwavering morals to be given positions of power.  Pray that God will help Mexico to eradicate evil forces who kidnap children for sex slavery and seize power through a myriad of violent crimes and terrorism.

So before or after you enjoy your margarita and fish taco, make sure you take a moment to bow your head, praise God for the freedoms we have and pray for the leadership of our country and our neighbors in Mexico.

cinco de mayo drinks
fish tacos cinco de mayo

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