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Happy 125 Months of love!
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.
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…
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.
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
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
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.
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 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).
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
Good luck with your goal writing and please let me know what you think! Happy New Year!
Gift Giving and Receiving… it’s what Christmas is all about, right???
As we celebrate giving gifts this holiday season, let’s reflect on the reason WHY we give gifts. It is in remembrance of God’s gift of eternal life in heaven for all those who desire it, made possible through the sacrifice of His Son, JESUS CHRIST.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
As I read these verses I reflected on all the joy that comes with this Christmas season. We celebrate the birth of Christ because of all the things that this signifies— salvation, everlasting life, hope, love, peace, and so much more.
I heard an amazing sermon the other day at Church about what kind of “peace” was delivered when Christ came. So many people thought Jesus was going to be a warrior and overthrow the government with physical force.
Others thought he was just going to clap his hands and just like that all the evil in the world would disappear. No more disease, death, rape, divorce, or any other type of tragedy.
This type of peace will come, and “one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord”, but that isn’t the type of peace that is being celebrated by by the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus’ first coming brough PEACE between God and man, which technically is the most important. We have now been justified.
The ultimate judge of good and evil is the one that will give us the verdict of whether or not we have EVER sinned (which we all have). The peace we have been given is the judge declared us “NOT GUILTY” because someone has come to pay the price for our sins. That justification brings about a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding.
So why doesn’t God come now and restore the final peace?
The short answer is because he loves us and is patient with us. God wants to give all tribes, all nations, and all people a chance to choose Him before his final coming.
So this holiday season, no matter what hardships are going through, hopefully you can find a sense of peace knowing that you are redeemed and loved in the eyes of the Creator. Next, go out and spread love and kindness to everyone and help bring Peace on Earth and Good will toward men!
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.
So my lips have been chapped these last few weeks I'm not sure if it's because of the weather or what but they've been dry lately. I grabbed my Chapstick and put it on while I was kinda spacing out and gosh it felt good to feel the cooling/reviving feeling. It made me think about last Friday when I went to the store and was looking at just an aisle full of all of the different kinds of Chapstick. It's almost ridiculous how saturated the Chapstick industry with companies always coming out with some new twist that is going to be better than the other competitors when really it's just a play on the same base.
They claim there's something different that is worth selling whether it be the flashy label or whatever is eye catching to the buyer, but I always go back to the same old Burt's beeswax for a whopping $2.95 because it just always seems to satisfy and do the job.
I relate this to religion. Now-a-days, people always try to sell you something new and improved from the old tried and true but there's always a twist to make it more exciting and to attract more of a broad range of people to "satisfy". Like Chapstick, or toothpaste, or anything I buy, I always find myself reaching for what I know is best and what satisfies me most. Like Christ and my church and my faith, when I am in need of anything, I will always turn to Christ, because He and He alone is what satisfies my thirst when nothing else will.
I am so excited for the Women’s World Cup Finale today!
It’s awesome because it is a rematch from 4 years ago when Japan beat USA in the world cup finals on a penalty shoot out following the 2-2 draw.
I am very interested to see if USA is able to get out and score first. If so, I think they have a really good shot at winning. After all, the United States has played fantastically when scoring first. In fact, they have scored first in every game in this tournament thus far. Furthermore, other than the goal they allowed Australia in the first match, no team has scored against the United States since.
But wait! Weren’t they ahead 2-0 against Japan last year? What makes scoring first the difference this year? It can’t just be confidence, because the 2011 team had plenty of confidence.
I just have to believe that this team is different. But don’t just take it from me. Take it from one of the players—two-time Olympic gold medalist, and 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, Abby Wambach who said, “This team is different.”
So as we root for U.S.A. victory let’s remember that the most important thing isn’t a victory on the scoreboards, but a victory within the minds and hearts of everyone out there.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57
Happy 4th of July!
I absolutely love traveling the world, and to be honest I think I have a bad case of wanderlust. However, each time I return from a trip, whether it be from South America, Asia, or even Europe, I find I am so thankful to be back home. I love the Americans I encounter who love freedom, who are confident, hardworking, competitive, inspirational, innovative, compassionate, and positive. America is literally like no other place in the world!
I am proud to be a part of such a great nation. Of course it is not perfect, but America is the MOST SELF-LESS nation in the history of the world!
What other nation fights for the freedom of other countries (Korean War, Iraq, WWI, WWII) when we have little or nothing to gain. Whenever there is a natural disaster our country raises money and sends resources to those in need. I hope we never lose these qualities. We need to remember that every person matters and we need to do everything in our power to help those in our country and ALSO those around the world.
1 Peter 3:8
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
Why do we celebrate 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”.
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.
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.
Mayweather Vs Pacquiao
Since it is Monday and it’s likely that everyone at work will be talking about the fight from over the weekend, I thought I would incorporate it into today’s devotion.
It was the most hyped up fight I have ever lived through. They are calling it the fight of the century.
First of all why was it so hyped up?
Well, for starters, it was one of the most expensive fights in history.
Here is a breakdown of Mayweather’s earnings from Saturday’s fight:
$180,000,000 (yes that is 7 zeros after the 18, not a typo!!!) just for the fight
$15,000,000 per round
$5,000,000 per minute
$83,333 per second
Mayweather was making more per second than the average American makes in two years! Geez!
Plus, besides the money it was the battle between two of the greatest fighters in the world.
PacMan vs. Money Mayweather
or how I would view it… the fight of Good vs. Evil
Let me just give you a quick recap of the two fighters:
-Humble beginnings from Philippines
-Homeless for part of his childhood
-Boxed and worked to provide food for him and his family
-Even though he was forced to drop out of high school due to extreme poverty he later went back to finish and then pursue a college education.
-Member of the Philippine House of Representatives
Floyd Mayweather jr.
-His website is “the Money Team”
-2002 charged with domestic violence
-2004 Convicted battery of 2 women
-Served a jail term for domestic abuse in 2012
-Loves flaunting his money, fame, and power
Both lived up to their stereotypes heading into the ring on Saturday night.
-Wore a humble T-shirt that read, “Jesus is the name of the Lord”
-Smiles and greets people as he is led to the ring
-First thing he does upon entering the ring is drops to his knees to pray
Floyd Mayweather jr. :
-Wore a flashy, bling outfit showing off “the Money Team”
-Rolled up in a Rolls Royce
-Jumps up and down boasting about how great he is
-Strolled up (trying to look hard) with a celebrity entourage consisting of celebrities such as Justin Beiber (side note, if Justin Beiber is part of your entourage, you are definitely on the wrong side) and the Burger King mascot (Just why???)
So there I was, sitting at home hoping to see Manny knock the socks off of this cocky fool.
Yet Pac-man was unable to knock him out. Worse still, even though Mayweather did nothing but avoid a fight the whole night, they awarded him the victory.
Two seconds before the fight is even over, Mayweather was already lifting his hand up as if to say he was the champion and then proceeded to jump up on the side of the ring demanding them to put the belt on him. The crowd boo’d at his haughty celebration and he yelled back at them. Meanwhile Manny humbly thanked his fans from each corner.
As I drove home that night I wondered to myself (as I do about many things in life), why God?
Why do you let someone as self-centered and money obsessed as Mayweather take home the glory and title of champion. Why not award this humble man who lives to serve you with the win? Why didn’t you give Pacquiao the victory?
But then I realized, He already did.
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through Christ, we have been given the victory. A MUCH MUCH MUCH more important victory than some silly boxing match victory over death. Through the victory of Christ, anyone who accepts Jesus will share in the victory and reign forever.
Pacquaio already knew this and actually said pretty much the same thing in the interview prior to the big fight.
With millions watching the pre-fight interview he said:
"I want to let know that everything that I have accomplished is God who gave me the strength," he said, "I just want to be an example and inspiration to everybody, how my life before I became a boxer, I used to sleep in the street starving/hungry, and now I can not imagine that the Lord raised me in this position."
He said he and Mayweather both would do their best to give fans the best fight yet. Pacquiao did say that although the fight is going to be incredible that is not the biggest part.
"The most important thing is that I hope that after the fight [I] can have a conversation with Floyd, sharing my faith about God, there's nothing bad about that," he stated, "[On] how we need to believe and how we can inspire more people especially those children that are looking [up] to us."
"There is [a] God that can raise someone from nothing into something, Jesus is the name of the ord" he concluded.
What an incredible man.
Countless times we see good, Godly, and righteous men lose in the world’s eyes, but are winning the eternal battle.
Practically every disciple or apostle was killed for his/her beliefs in the days of the early church. It may seem as if their opponents won and they lost… but they were not defeated.
1 John 4:4
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
We just have to remember, that sometimes we don’t “win” in the worldly competitions, because that is not what is important. It is important that we are winning the eternal competitions and battles.
1 John 5:4-5
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Pacquiao shows that he is a true champion and is not only winning matches in the ring, but winning eternal battles daily.
So next time the fight is mentioned maybe it will be a good reminder to reflect on such things, and even share your testimony.