Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Together We Rise Blog Post

The Foster Care system is a large system. According to childrensrights.org at any given time there are approximately 415,000 kids within the system nationwide and got as high as 650,000 in 2014. This is just a quick view of the system, but what is important is how can we help. There are so many things that we can do not being a part of the Foster Care system per say.

One way that is a popular and more common way to hear of helping is becoming a foster parent. This is a whole process of going through the state system, applying, and being examined by the system to see if your home is suitable. I would think this is one way that would be very helpful, but we are not always in a position to help in this way.

Together We Rise is a program that allows all of us to help. Together We Rise is a non-profit organization that assists kids within the Foster Care. There are a list of programs that are run within the Organization. There is the Sweet Cases program which is a fundraiser that goes into getting personalized duffel bags for foster kids to travel with instead of the trash bag that many kids use. This provides hope to the kids and help them to have a better experience. There is a similar program called build-a-bike which fundraises and then volunteers build bikes to donate to kids in the foster care system. You can also donate to a fundraiser that helps provide scholarships for 10-15 foster care kids who are incoming college freshman.

Overall, the best way to help is to understand. Every person has their own story and it more likely than not won't be the same as yours. When we learn to understand people, then we become less judgemental and people are able to feel more welcomed. If there has been one thing that I can take away from my studies is that there is a societal norm that is integrated that we become more individualistic, but when we look outside of ourselves to see who's life we can bless, that is when we will change the world.

For more information visit, https://www.togetherwerise.org/.
Also, you can watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsGIGtBdUBI 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let Me Be Me

My friend Hoodie Allen once said, "I don't wanna be a legend, I just wanna go to heaven, I just wanna do me right now. Wanna do Me right now... Let Me be Me" 

Bare with me on this one. Something that I have learned is YOU matter. Of course I had the greatest opportunity to marry my best friend and how great that has been and of course SHE matters to me but she can only feel as much love as I can give, and I can only give as much love as I have for myself. As some of you may know I love working with and for people so I in no way am saying don't care for other people but we all need to time to "Let Me be Me". In doing so I feel like you have a bigger capacity to give yourself to others. Here are some of the ways I've seen we can go ahead and do this. This is not a complete list but just a few things I've seen help me in my life. 

The first thing that we can do is remember that we were meant to be ourselves and no one else was meant to be us. That also means that you weren't meant to be anyone else. Once we understand this truth then we can develop ourselves. There is a quote that says, "To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are". How beautiful is that. I am a firm believer that we all can make a difference if we stick to who we are. We had the opportunity to listen to Randall K Bennett and leader within our church tonight and as he spoke about Job and his trials and other trials that we may face and why we do, the thought kept coming to my mind is that The Lord qualifies who He calls. He has called each and everyone of us to be who we are and where we are at the moment. Because he has called us to be there he as well qualified us to be there and so He will be there and will give us what we need to make it through any trial. 

The next thing is something that I was taught by a group of youth this summer. They set the goal for the week and invited me to join them to do something to push them out of their comfort zone. The goal was to do something each day for the week but I have tried to continue that goal and push it out a little bit to maybe something each week. This is something that is so hard. We love to be in our own little comforts but growth comes when we stretch ourselves. If we want to reach our full potential we need to step out of our comfort zone and realize what we can do. Something that I love to do is Sing. Not too many people know that because I don't like to share. I don't see myself as a good singer by any means but I enjoy it and love how people can really express themselves through song. At the end of this summer I remembered this goal and went for it and tried out to sing a solo for a session of summer camp... and I got it! Please don't laugh or judge but here is a video of that. It helped as well that it was a song that I truly believed and will touch on. 

This song if you listen to the words is all about the Little Things. Improving ourselves is something that is hard. Loving ourselves sometimes can be hard. We're not going to become perfect over night but it's through these Little Things that we will become greater and achieve more. "Every little prayer you say Every good choice you make Every little step you take Makes a difference, such a difference Every little good thing you do Makes a little change in you Even though they seem so small You'll see they're not so little, after all"

There aren't many things that we can control in our lives. One thing that we can control is ourselves and our own progression. When we try to become our best selves we present the opportunity to write our best song. I have seen that as I have strived to better my self, my relationship with my wife has gotten better. Take the time and have your "Let Me Be Me" moments. My song is always changing and becoming mine as I Let Life Play the Guitar Strings. One Love.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Slow Down and Smell the Roses

My dearest friends! Just recently I have had a lot of time to be thinking about things and just the lessons that I have learned in my life. Let me tell you life is GREAT even through everything bad that may happen to us God is so good to us. I guess bear with me as I get to ramble a bit. 

I guess to let you all in my life, especially since I haven't publicized a lot, this last little bit has been a bit crazy to say the least. First of all there is school I knew what I was getting myself into this semester but I didn't know what I was getting myself into. It has been a lot of work but I do have to say I have learned quite a bit. I then got engaged and so trying to help plan that wedding has been quite a trip and I do have to acknowledge that my Fiance Lindsay is a superstar handling all of that with such poise! Then just 2 weeks ago I tore my Achilles tendon and had the repaired just about 6 weeks out of being married. Needless to say a lot has been going on but all I have to say about it is, WHAT A BLESSING! 

School hasn't turned out exactly what I want it to be and yeah it has been a little harder than I thought but it helped me realize what I am good at and what maybe I could do better. Seeing such an example of balance and diligence in Lindsay has motivated me to be better and try and help in anyway possible. Tearing my Achilles, well that took a little bit longer to for me to see the blessings. It helped me to slow down though and realize what is important. I looked around the Orthopedic Surgeons office and just thought to myself It's going to be alright and I really got lucky! I see people struggling with so many bigger things than me and just think who am I to take away help from them and really just count my blessings.

One thing that I have seen is people are great but also people can be frustrating. I really do love being with people and trust everyone or at least try to. I would tell me EFY boys every week you have my trust and respect until you do something to lose it. I feel like that with people. I think everyone does deserve our trust, love, and respect and sometimes that breaks and needs rebuilding. But even when those things do happen, Slow down and Smell the Roses and see the blessings from it. I have learned so much about being a friends from these instances and how I can improve my relationships. Although it may hurt and it is tough sometimes, there IS a blessing in it all.

I in no way see myself as perfect. Sometimes I just get so annoyed with everything and life but something that I've learned is life just feels better when you look for the blessings. My Life's music and soundtrack is still always a work in progress, but everyday I Let Life Play The Guitar Strings and I write to the beat. Slow Down, Be Happy. Life is Good! One Love! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Isn't it About Time

Well it has been a while but I'm trying to do this again. I don't know if anyone actually reads this but it allows me to share a little bit about what's going on in my life and some of the things that God has in store for me. It was something that became so stress relieving and really I just kind of enjoyed doing it at least for me.

My life has been so crazy as of recent. This last New Year's I remember telling my best friend Juan this is my Year. I didn't know why I said that but man has it turned out to be so true. I found friendships, visited the motherland of the Philippines, met the love of my life, grew closer to my Heavenly Father, worked an amazing summer with amazing youth, started school again, and got engaged to Lindsay Ann! We will get married by the end of the year and needless to say it's been all emotions this year but has definitely been my year. God is so good to me. He knows exactly what I need and at what times.

I can't explain how amazing it has been to re-meet and get to know and fall in love with my best friend. Lindsay Ann is her name. So our story is that we met as we were both missionaries for our church in Las Vegas. Her first month there was my last month there so we only ran into each other a few times as we played sports. She then came home a year and a half later, it will be a year home this November. We didn't write or anything during that time. We became Facebook friends when she came home and that was about it. Then came President's day. It was a perfect weekend I went down with my buddies Juan and Ryan for the World Rugby 7's Tournament in Las Vegas. Little did I know that Lindsay was going down the same weekend. She over invited people and heard that I was going down so she contacted me to help her take people down. I ended up not needing to take anyone else down but we have talked everyday since then and it has been such a blessing to me and I can't wait to spend the rest of eternity with her.

I also just had an incredible summer. I had the opportunity to work for Especially for Youth again. This is a summer youth program through my church that helps youth come closer to Christ and become a better them. I felt so blessed to be able to learn from these incredible youth. Something that I have learned is how blessed we are and the fact of the matter is that God has a specific plan for each and everyone of us. It is amazing to me to realize how blessed we really are. These youth helped me to feel so blessed and loved. It has been a great opportunity to work for this amazing program the past 2 summers and it will always have a special spot in my heart.

A familiar LDS Hymn says, "When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost. Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." Throughout this past year there has been a lot of different trials that came upon me and I know that there will continually be more and more but I have come to recognize that it makes the biggest difference on how we handle them. We make the choice of whether or not to let them take over our lives or if we let them motivate us and become someone better. Sometimes we need the help of others to help us overcome these trials and we just need to let them in. Other times it's up to you! But no matter what I know that the Lord is always there and has His hand in it to teach us something. The whole purpose in which I started this blog was to help me to realize the blessings in life as it approaches us, as I have seen and heard life will play the guitar strings and it is up to us to write to the beat. We create our own music masterpieces of life and to each of us our own, but that is just it, make it your own! Life is good, One Love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today Was a Good Day

My friend Ice Cube once said, "Today I didn't have to use my AK, I have to say it was a good day." So I never plan on using an AK and don't quite live the life as Ice Cube but strangely enough he teaches us a lot, and something that I have been focused on way to much lately.

I think it is common in our day of age to think negatively and to look more to the downfalls, when in reality "I have to say, today was a good day." I do this little thing where I stress myself far to much over just little things whether it is a few points on an assignment or even what I'm going to eat (Fat Kid Story) but it is so much easier for us as humans to look at these things that bring us down rather than look at the positives that make it a good day.  I mean yeah I might have missed 2 points on that assignment but how often do we look at it where I still got 8 points on it. I know I have just put my days down recently with finals here and workload seeming bigger than ever but I mean really I can't complain. It has been 70 degrees outside, sun has been shining, I got offered the opportunity to be an EFY Counselor, I am not feeling too overwhelmed with exams, and I am still alive.

Well I feel like I always talk about it, Life is just too good, you are too blessed to be stressed. I look and see others going through hard circumstances and do it in such an empowering way that is so motivating to me. My life is great and I just need to, for a lack of better words, don't worry be happy! I don't really know what I said but I do know that I feel overwhelmed but I still am able to feel happiness in my life. I can never emphasize enough how much more enjoyable life is and will be as you do what you can to be happy, find your happy place or activity to release some stress, SERVE, or just sit back and smile as things happen in front of you. So no matter what life throws at you take that music and make a song like good 'ole Uncle Bob Marley as he soulfully sang, "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright"

Life is Good. One Love!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

What is Love?

What is Love? And I know a majority of you reading this immediately responded with "baby don't hurt me". Well hate to break it to you but it is actually more than just a one hit wonder from the 90's, it is a sappy feeling that we all feel and seek for. This last week with Valentine's puts forth an emphasis on this emotion even more so in my own mind.
First and foremost what is it. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary it is a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. I don't believe that is wrong but I think that intimidates us all a bit. We see it so often placed as this strong emotion that you share this strong affection with and even more so associate that with physical expressions. As I think more about that it is so true. I know that I will love my future wife with that affection, but I think Love is more than that. I add that Love is when someone else's happiness is placed before yours and that is the true expression of love. Since other's happiness is more important to you than you want to do whatever you can to keep their happiness and trust. I first learned this from my loving parents. They of course showed me the affection a child needs but more so they cared more about my happiness, putting aside their duties to watch me play basketball or whatever the case may be. I then saw a portion of this as I grew up and saw and continue to see some amazing friends do the same. I  love coming home and just having my best friend just listen to me complain about how dumb I feel and how hard school is. It's not meant to be a huge expression but it's within the little things. For that reason and this definition I love my family and friends. I know I'm not the best at showing it or saying it but I really do and I'm working on it.
I believe the most important example of Love we need to remember is that of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We read so often the scripture in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We see it at sporting events and hear it in church but do we take enough time to think about that sobering thought. God, our HEAVENLY FATHER, loves us so much that He sent His first born Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. And imagine the love of Christ that he willingly gave up everything he had and suffered the worst temptation, pain, and most excruciating death so that we may be happy. What a better example of putting other's happiness in front of yours. So I know if you're reading this you're probably sick of me saying things like this but BE HAPPY. Why you ask? Cause God loves you. Christ Loves you. They both have given you life and everything to make you happy. It brings me such joy to feel that love and can really pick you up from a hard day.
Look, when we hear the word LOVE I know we all get freaked out a bit, but really if you're reading this I LOVE YOU. If you don't feel like anyone else does I do. Love really does make the world go round. When's the last time you told someone you loved them, better yet when's the last time you showed someone you loved them. Life is going to keep going and throwing stuff at us that we can't see, but Love helps. I promise just trust when you show love, you'll feel the love back. Get out there and just love. You can't control the music life plays, but write to that beat and make it your song. Life is Good. One Love.

Please watch this Video and take the advice on How to Love!! Leave comments! What do you think Love is? How do you love? Why?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Little Things

Well here we are again y'all, I'm trying to be better and post more often cause even if no one reads this it gives me time to reflect on life. I realize that sounded a bit selfish and it kind of was but I do actually hope others read this and get as much out of it as I do. Forgive me for not writing and for not being super good at it!!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the little things in life. How easy is it to overlook those things?! I just stop and slow down for just a second before I fall asleep and night and realize how I just got caught up in everything and let it all take me away a bit. Don't get me wrong these big things, like school and work and all that jazz, are really important but so are the little things. I think of my happiness. This doesn't seem like a small thing but it's full of the small things of life. Why do we let ourselves to not be happy? Life is so much more fun and enjoyable when we are. Find the little things that make you happy. Here are just some suggestions that I have seen for me and of course my happiness is different than yours but that doesn't mean we can't help each other be happy!

1. Acts of Service- This is so much fun and how much better you feel when you just forget yourself for just a bit and care about someone else. I had the great opportunity to go with my ward to deliver valentines to an assisted living center and this was a bigger planned service but just going in and talking and spending a bit of time with these people brought such a pure joy to me.
2. Compliments- Again this is a little bit like service to where you just forget yourself for a bit. We care a lot about how we look and what we do ourselves and what others think. Just don't worry about it sometimes and just tell someone else they look nice or how great of a friend they are to you. Just some simple kind words go a long way and I promise they will come back to you!
3. Me Time- We love forgetting ourselves for the sake of others and it feels great, but give yourself some love too!! Everyone spends their own "Me Time" differently. Find what comforts you and do it! I wouldn't recommend doing this for hours on end, there are things to do, but give yourself some time occasionally. I found some "Me Time" as I just went to my apartment's basketball court and shot just me and my Jahwaiian Music. I loved it! Felt refreshed to go out and have a great time that night.
4. Don't forget those you care about- Guys this is so simple yet so hard. I know we all care about a lot of different people. We care about them for a reason. Don't forget that. Let them know. A simple thank you can go a long way and so can a "I'm sorry". In turn, those little things for the bad can go a long way too, like holding a grudge, not letting the past go, and letting their faults become more important than their strengths and why you became friends with them. These simple friendships and relationships can and are meant to become bigger lasting things. Just let them. Do the small things to keep them important to you.
5. Look up and Smile- This life is too good y'all! Just look up and around at the beauty of it all. How incredible is it that their is such individuality in everything in nature from each blade of grass to the clouds in the sky? And how we are all similar as human beings but yet so different and so beautiful in our own ways! I can't help but smile. And let's be honest everyone's more attractive when they smile and I'm not gonna try and give you some fact but hey I always feel better when I smile and all my troubles melt away! Give it a shot! I'd love to see your smile!

Well really this life was meant to enjoy. We were meant to help each other enjoy it. Here are some little ideas that we can do and there are so many more just help each other. You never know what life is going to throw at you or what music it'll play, but no matter the music I will dance and it will be fun! That's my song and try and add a bit of that to yours. I love being happy and love it when others are happy too! So just write to the beat and let life play the guitar strings. Life is Good. One Love!!