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Thursday, December 23, 2010

How Does Your Child Spell Love?

Simple Truths - We Hope You Enjoyed the movie!

Take a few minutes to watch the movie on the link above. It's amazing how we forget that a child's perception is much different from ours. Enjoy and go share your love today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Pointed Star Model for Success

As we were putting up our Christmas tree I began to think about the significance of the star on top of the tree. Then I started to think how as parents we always want our kids to be stars. More so from the day they're born until they're about 7 years old. You see it every Christmas at the number of school shows. The younger kids have their own fan club including parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and anyone else that wants to be supportive of that cute little kid.

Cuteness doesn't wear off but usually more kids come in to the picture and we start to feel that the older kid doesn't need that fan club anymore. The truth is that these kids need support throughout their childhood. As adults we turn to our family or social circles for support so why do we think that just cause a kid is older he or she is not looking out in the crowd for their fans.

Time and other activities makes it difficult for us to be at every event. It is important that we teach our children a model to follow so that they will always experience success and continue to feel that same support without needing their fan club present every time. I have come up with the following model that I am trying to incorporate with my children.  
Things Needed to Shine like a Star:
1. Spiritual: Recognize that God has created this world and us for his purpose. We all have unique talents and it is our responsibility to use those talents to serve others. We must dedicate time throughout the day to give thanks for the opportunity . It is important for our kids to learn that they are here to serve a higher purpose and the world does not revolve around them. Children now seem to get bored easily even though there is more entertainment products, services, and media available than ever before. When they are able to participate in charitable giving there is more fulfillment and they get to appreciate the simple abundances that they do have.
2. Physical: Exercise & diet is important towards your energy & longevity. Stress has been known to deteriorate your health. Exercise can help reduce the amount of stress in your life or at least help you manage it and improve your mood. One of the benefits from being in a good mood is the quality of our relationships.
3. Mental: Zig Ziglar said "Positive thinking won't let you do anything but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will." Children must learn how to control their thoughts & actions. Eliminate biases & remember that we all have different gifts to offer. .
4. Social: Not one person can do it on his/her own. Even Jesus, son of God, surrounded himself w/ 12 disciples. Relationships help us grow, laugh, and love. All of these are beneficial to our health also. Studies have shown that there are medical benefits to laughing also, so have a sense of humor.
5. Attitude: A positive attitude allows you to set high goals and believe that you can reach them. Believing in yourself is important for you to take action and achieve your full potential. Having an attitude of gratitude also helps you stay positive. If you can learn to look at what you have instead of what you do not have then you will spend less time moping around. We can allow the media to create a demand for luxury items we do not need or we can use the media to show us how blessed we are compared to the majority of this world.

This is the model that I try to use daily when I speak to my children. My children have lost their mother because of drug addiction and for the last 2 years to incarceration. They were very young when I had to start playing the role of mother and father. I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me but by using this model and being consistent they are growing up to be well rounded children and I have also been able to grow myself. They know that our struggles have helped us grow closer and stronger. Their mom was just sentenced to a total of 4 years with time served for 2 of those years. Although they were sad to hear the news they know that God's timing is perfect and it is not always in agreement with what we want. They continue to stay positive and are very thankful for what they do have.

Good luck with your children and remember the most important thing is to obey the commandment that Jesus left with us, "love one another".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Melancholy Moments

I know by now most people believe in the benefits of positive thinking. I am constantly trying to learn techniques that can help me develop daily rituals so that I am always positive. Am I crazy for thinking it's possible? Well maybe just a little but I have more and more people that depend on me to be positive so that I can help them find the brighter side. So what about those melancholy moments?

Don't tell me you have not experienced those times where you are just feeling down but you can not manage to put your finger on why you are feeling that way. People come up to you and continue to ask what's wrong and you don't have an answer. They press and press because they either want to be helpful or want some gossip but you really don't have the answer. It starts to build momentum and soon it's like a giant snowball of negativity. It use to happen to me a lot. I can list a number of things that have gone wrong in my life but why list them cause I know it is not the reason why I am feeling that way. I have decided to stop trying to figure out why and focus more on how to change my attitude because in the end it is a choice.

My daily ritual now includes the following; from the moment I wake up I give thanks to my Lord Jesus Christ for giving me a chance at living another day so that I can try to make a difference in this world and I can fulfill the purpose that I have been put on this earth. I read some scriptures with the kids before dropping them off at school. I then go workout so that I can take care of my body and feel good about myself. Now what about those times when you are blindsided and all of a sudden you are feeling melancholy again. We sometimes go through life and we try to treat our social needs by treating ourselves to something nice, maybe dinner, a movie, or a purchase. These always seem to be quick fixes and do not last long. When money was tight I just did not have that option anymore so I had to figure something else out. I realized that a random act of kindness gets me over it quick. I am not a doctor but I am sure that the fact that helping someone makes me smile has some kind of health benefit to myself and the ability to change my attitude to one of gratitude. Give it a try and do something for someone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!!!

It is that time of year again when we get some time off to gather with friends and family to reflect on everything we have and not what we don't have. The simple fact that I am in the United States and able to write a blog means that I am better off than most of the world. Sure there are times when I want more and might feel bad because I don't have more but then I realize that I need to continue to show gratitude that my needs are being met.
There are people out there that are having extreme difficulties meeting their basic needs. Some people do not have family or friends to have Thanksgiving dinner with and these holidays become very difficult to handle. Please remember the impact and influence that you can have on many. I know times have been tough and we are not always in the position to give monetarily but it doesn't always have to be a monetary gift. Share a smile, greet someone, or pick up an extra 99 cent sandwich and hand it over to that guy or girl you see standing at the freeway exit. We can all do a little bit to make a difference in some one's life.
We have more entertainment options available to us today than we ever have had, yet we still hear kids say they are bored. I have noticed that my kids do not say that as much after we have volunteered somewhere to help the less fortunate. I believe the reason why is that it is very fulfilling when we help others.  That kind of service really fills the soul. A person I consider my mentor, Zig Ziglar, always says "you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want out of life." It might sound a little selfish but if you are helping others than does it really matter that it is selfish? Even Mother Theresa once said that she considered herself selfish because everything she did was to get closer to God.
I apologize for going on and on but I am very thankful for all of my old and new relationships. I am very happy to have surrounded myself with generous people that keep me inspired. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and for those of you traveling please come home safely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Losing My Ability to Express My Thoughts in More Than 140 Characters

I have not written in my blog for a long time now. I have had plenty of thoughts to write about but I am so used to using twitter that I express it in 140 characters or less and I am done. I really felt like I had to write about this because I felt like I am losing my ability to write. I think it all started when I decided I was going to write about my trials and tribulations and then all of a sudden writers block or just life got a little hectic. I am going to get back to this blog more often and hopefully contribute something meaningful that will inspire others to always keep pushing forward.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going Down Memory Lane Is Like Driving While Looking In The Mirror.

 Alaina & Me


I recently got caught up cleaning my room and organizing my paperwork. It took a lot longer than I had planned because of all the old pictures I was coming across. This picture of Alaina and me was when she was around 2 1/2 years old. Her mother and I had just reconciled after our first separation. My poor baby has gone through the most out of all the children because she was the oldest and remembers most of the fights between her mother and I. I will always look at my baby girl the way I see her in this picture. 

I know a lot of fathers feel the same way about their daughters. This can also be a big problem. As we're so busy looking at our daughters as if they are babies they are growing up faster than we like. As men we forget that girls mature faster than boys. Their interest in boys is just something we don't want to talk about and as our girls fill out we fail to hug them because of that uncomfortable feeling of realizing that your baby is now a young woman. We're so focused on the way she used to be while time keeps moving forward. Similar to driving while staring in the rear view mirror, it's just a matter of time that you'll crash. 

As a single parent I've tried my best to keep things well balanced for my children. They will never have the excuse that I was absent from functions. I refuse to allow them the excuse that their mistakes are because their mom hasn't been there and when my ego is riding high I've told them that they are better off having me as a father than some kids are having both parents. I've also been told that I'm one of the cool dads but now I wonder if I was being played. I have tried to give my kids the freedom they need to make their own mistakes but I've also guided them every step and don't expect them to make certain mistakes. Time has convinced me that sometimes people don't believe you until they have made that same mistake themselves. My kids are no exception and so I've incorporated the ever famous phrase "I told you so". 

Teenage girls are a whole new species and I am definitely not an expert but I will share what I have learned so far. Back when I was a teen and started to like girls I would have to call them at home. Sometimes a parent or older sibling would answer the phone and so in a nervous tone I had to ask for permission to speak to the girl. Now most teenage girls have their own cell phones, emails, twitter, myspace, facebook and instant messenger accounts. Teenage boys don't have to go through what I went through to court a young lady. It's all easy access and most teenagers without adult supervision will push the envelope. Flirtations over text message and instant messenger programs are widely used by our teens that it's own phrase has been created, sexting. I also don't remember using such vulgar language especially if an adult was within earshot.

Recently I was shocked by my daughter and what I saw on her myspace account. I was lucky to catch it early enough thanks to having friends that are always looking out for the kids and myself. Her facebook account was very different from myspace but of course on facebook I was her friend. The internet allows people to take on different personalities and sometimes kids make themselves feel better by acting a certain way or what they think is socially acceptable amongst their friends. I have always talked to my daughter about character and if a certain action is questionable to pray on it. I have had her write about her experience and what exactly she was thinking. To make a long story short she liked the attention boys gave her by being a certain way. She did not think of the long term consequences such as college recruiters, employment recruiters, or even child predators reading what she was putting out there. Another thing she didn't think about was that the relationship with boys who liked her myspace account was only going to lead to one thing and it wouldn't be a relationship worth having. I gave her a lot of freedom and it was all based on trust. I regret not listening to Dr. Laura's advice against teens having these social networking accounts. I am now convinced that our kids need to learn how to socialize face to face and be who they really are and not be so quick to use their cell phones to text. I have cut off my daughter's phone and accounts. I might one day pick up a phone for emergency reasons only but it will not have text functions or a camera. For now she will always have change on her to use a pay phone. 

I was so caught up looking at my girl as my baby that I did not even think she was capable of speaking in a vulgar tone. I am still disappointed but at the same time happy that it was caught and I have been able to talk to her about the consequences. She didn't fight me on giving up her phone because she is more concerned at gaining my trust again. Well it's either that or she felt that I was going to beat her because I was so upset. I was able to keep my composure and I was amazed at how much she cried just from me telling her that I was disappointed and didn't trust her anymore. I like to encourage adopting changes to technology but I still believe there is so much more value in learning how older generations communicated and developing valuable relationships by being able to be yourself. God help our children and our parents to provide the proper guidance.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Forget The Lemons Just Give Me The Lemonade

Here's a link for a coupon to Corner Bakery Cafe. Free Pomegranate or Mango Frozen Lemonade with the purchase of a lunch or dinner entrée. Enjoy!

Free Lemonade

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nature's Inspiration | Nature's Inspriation Movie

iNature's Inspiration | Nature's Inspriation Movie

As many of you begin your so called dreaded Monday. Take 4 minutes of your day to watch this movie. Enjoy nature's inspiration and you'll see that this week will be a great one for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Change is Good... You Go First | The Change Is Good Movie

A little movie for those of you managing people or even trying to manage your family. Yes sometimes the principles in business can be used in your family or vice versa. Enjoy!
Change is Good... You Go First | The Change Is Good Movie

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can The Kids Tell That I Love Them?

Recently my son took a spill at the skate park. I have always been tough on these kids and expect them to brush it off. Matthew did just that and didn't cry. Little did he know that after his second fall he had fractured both arms. He still waited patiently with his little brother while I ran some errands for work and took my daughter to a tournament. By the time I picked him up he told me about the fall and how his arms were starting to hurt. I thought he sprained it and what I was looking at was swelling. We iced and wrapped and then iced and wrapped some more. Two days later I tell him that the swelling is not going down and let's just get some x-rays on the left arm. The x-rays confirmed a fracture but we decided not to go to the emergency and wait until Monday.

Matthew was so tough and never complained about a thing. The doctor snapped his bone to make it straight and that was the only time Matthew shed a tear. The doctor looked at me and said "that's one tough boy". I guess he expected a lot more yelling. 

In hindsight I feel really bad that we waited so long. I don't want to change how tough I am with them cause my role is to be a father. There mother should be the sensitive one and I feel bad that she's not around but I decided long ago that if I try to play both roles that I would fail. I push these kids to give everything 100% and to be accountable for all of their actions. The fact that he didn't cry scares me cause I wonder if he did that for me or if he really has a high tolerance for pain. 

I know the purpose God has for me is to take care of these 3 kids and possibly take on more when these 3 are off in college. I try to be there for everything and sacrifice a lot of business. This is possible because of other people in my life that the kids and I are really grateful that they're in our lives. I hope and pray that the kids notice that everything I do is out of an unconditional love I have for them. I pray for guidance and patience so that I can raise these 3 to reach their full potential. I guess once in a while I just need to remember to take a break and give them a hug.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pursuit of God

I have forgotten about you during good times but you stayed close by.
I have come running to you during bad times and you watched over me.
I have accused you of playing with my emotions and you laughed at me. 
I asked you to let me carry a burden so that others won't have to and you said okay.
I now know what they mean about being careful what you wish for.
I now know that all of this has been done out of love.
Looking back I can see that your plan is the perfect plan.
Despite my deviate behavior you have always been there for me.
How you have treated me has opened my eyes and my heart.
I am a better person and father because of what I've been through.
You knew what you were doing all along ;)
I now know that in my pursuit to find you all I have to do is pray.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Power of Teamwork Movie | The Power of Teamwork Movie

The Power of Teamwork Movie | The Power of Teamwork Movie

Great little movie on the power of teamwork and achieving synergy. When you achieve synergy with your team you can accomplish anything you set as a goal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WTH Does Mario Know?

I have never claimed to be like Bo Jackson and start my own "Mario Knows..." campaign. As a matter of fact I think the only thing I do know for sure is that what I do know is that I have made tons of mistakes and have learned from them. It is this mindset that keeps me learning and sharing what I learn.

The other day I had a conversation with someone and they were telling me that at first they could not comprehend why I shared so much on the social networks. They admitted to me that what they thought was that I gave so much advice for a person who hasn't shown much success at anything. I loved the honesty and I engaged the conversation even more. As my blog states I share my opinion on almost anything. They were also right that I have failed at almost everything, marriage, finances, career, weight loss, and even at my goal of retiring at 35. I set that goal when I was 18 but never wrote it down. Wow, I should just give up. Maybe I would have had I not learned from others that failure is just an event and it's not a person. I'm sure I heard that from someone in my mastermind alliance.

What I did learn from all of my mistakes is that I was just learning what to avoid in my journey to becoming a success. I had to remind myself of this daily. It is so easy to allow negativity to take over. Thoughts constantly ran through my mind about quitting, things would just be easier if I was dead, what can I contribute to anyone now, etc... I have been in those dark places and had I not had more faith I probably would have done something selfish.

So I am not someone who has made millions and is deeply in love with his soul mate. What I am is someone that is not a quitter. I am an everyday person that is sharing his experiences so that others may know they are not alone. The tips and experiences I share are not for everyone and it is not me trying to be arrogant. It is for that one person that needs it that day. If 1 person out of 300 has benefited than I have done my job for the day. So please don't ever take it as Mario thinks he knows everything when it's more like Mario knows some mistakes I should avoid or just skip over my post. My feelings will not be hurt.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mastermind Alliance

The concept of a mastermind alliance was made popular by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. In a nutshell you start an alliance with others to create a synergistic relationship. The collective knowledge will produce better results. Over the years I have definitely bounced around different groups. I have benefited from every alliance I have been a part of and I hope the members have benefited from me as well.

I want to share with you the members of my alliance that have been a constant the last few years. This alliance is made up of some of the best in their field. Unfortunately I don't contribute much to them but what I take from them I try to share with others. These people are successful because they share and serve others and so I'm sure they don't mind that I use what I learn from them to share also. I will break them up into different categories below.

Religion:
Besides going to church every Sunday I try to listen to and read books by Joel Osteen. The book that turned me on to this pastor was Become a Better You. After reading this I started to watch him on TV when I could find him or downloaded his free podcast. His messages are always so positive and he's very articulate. An amazing story teller that knows how to apply scripture so that you understand what God wants from us. You can also find more information on him and his ministry at Joel Osteen.

Motivation:
This next man has been called a natural treasure. After reading many of his books I can see why. If you are going to add any of these people to your own Mastermind Alliance he definitely has to be one of them. This man has been through it all and if anyone can get your mind out of the gutter it would be Zig Ziglar. He has so many books out from Success for Dummies to his latest Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life's Terms. Go out and pick up any of his books and I guarantee it will alter the way you think and make you a better person. Check out his website at Ziglar and at least sign up for the newsletter and maybe download his podcast.

Money:
At Cal State Northridge my major was in Business Administration w/ an option in Finance. As a kid I read so many books on cash flow, time value of money, and leveraging money. This made me a little arrogant and I stopped listening to advice from my parents regarding money. I should have read a book about debt and how debt has the ability of making you a slave and really killing your spirit. I first saw Dave Ramsey on the Fox Business channel and thought why does this man have a show and there's really nothing sophisticated about the advice he's giving. No get rich quick scheme or how to settle your credit cards for 50 cents on the dollar. Just biblical teachings about money and common sense. He even goes out and says that he just gives you advice that your grandparents would have given you. This man has been through bankruptcy and now is a success story. Need to get back on track about money then check out The Total Money Makeover. You can also check out his site, Dave Ramsey , and check him out on the radio or Fox Biz.

Family:
I am going to go ahead and admit my mad crush on this woman. I am sure she has been responsible for saving many relationships and I'm not just talking about husband and wife. She offers great advice for women, men, and children. I just recently added her to my alliance but I always wonder how much of a better dad I could have been had I found her years ago.   I am currently reading Bad Childhood---Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood but she also has so many books. For men I suggest Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives. For women I suggest Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives. I'll get to those books but I had to suggest them just from the testimonials I've heard on her radio show. Check her out at Dr. Laura and listen to her from a live feed or on her radio show.

I hope this helps some of you in your lives cause I know the above have helped me tremendously. At least bookmark the links I have given you for them cause their sites offer helpful tools. I know I didn't include anyone for Politics but the truth is I admire the founding fathers so much that I try to read history books for that but in this world of ours it's a constantly changing and learning process.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lakers vs. Celtics 2010 Championship! Who wants it more?

The Lakers will win in 6, I mean 7 hopefully. Obviously many Angelenos are upset with the position the Lakers have found themselves in and I'm sure the players are just even more upset. Emotions run high during championship games and the anxiety is overwhelming. What Lakers team is going to show up and I'm sure Bostonians are wondering what Celtics team will show up. These two teams are made up of championship caliber players and they know what is needed to stay alive or to close it out. The true champion will emerge as the team that was able to function as 1 unit and not a bunch of individual players. So what do they need to do?

Consistency from all players is needed. It's almost unanimous that Kobe is the best individual player in the game. He can come out and do all the scoring or he can create opportunities for his team. What ever he decides to do as the leader or however the game unfolds for him, his team is going to have to step up and execute their roles. We need you guys to get back on defense and do everything it takes to disrupt the Celtics, who are functioning much more as a team than the Lakers. This is the championship series and we need an aggressive team that is willing to dive, jump, run, etc... for the ball. I still think the Lakers are the better team if they can function as a team consistently for the next 8 quarters of basketball.

I applaud the Celtics team for getting this far. They really put it together to beat 2 teams that they were supposed to lose to but apparently they didn't get that memo. I don't wish them any bad luck but the exact opposite. I want to see the best Celtics team so that they can bring out the best Lakers team. In my opinion if the best Lakers team does show up then we will be champs. If they don't then congrats to the Celtics cause they earned the championship and were the best team when it counted.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me! | Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me! Movie

Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me! Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me! Movie

This is a powerful message for our women. I have said this often but I believe behind most successful people is a strong woman, either as a wife or as a mother. I have to learn from you women to try to raise successful children since they have an absent mom. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Lenders Warn Foreclosure May End in Lawsuit

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Lenders Warn Foreclosure May End in Lawsuit

In our profession and I am sure some of the public has heard the horror stories of homes that have been vandalized by the previous owner. Cement poured down the pipes, copper plumbing torn out, and I don't even want to mention the stuff left on the carpets. I'm not too sure what they expect to get out of a lawsuit unless it is a criminal lawsuit and looking to put them in jail. The old saying says you can't get blood out of a turnip so basically how do you try to get money from someone who is broke. This is vandalism and the police need to step in and arrest these vandals. I feel for those who lose their homes but I feel worse for those children who have parents that are teaching them that it is okay to vandalize because you are angry. Let's see if this threat from the banks will help but I have always said that the banks need to be more proactive in working things out.

Short sales and loan modifications are very similar to a dog chasing its tail. Even if the dog catches his tail it is still a lose-lose situation. Banks do not realize that had they actually helped more people out at least temporarily or been more efficient at approving short sales then values would not have dropped so fast. Maybe the borrowers would not have left so angry had they seen the transparency from the lender as to why they were not approving the short sale. I wonder if the banks will ever apply the principles of cash flow that I learned in college. One dollar today is worth more than one dollar tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kinder Graduation at St. Robert Bellarmine

Today is another kindergarten graduation at St. Robert Bellarmine. It's been a great pleasure seeing these kids almost every morning as they lined up for flag salute and morning prayers. Every year this school graduates a great group of kids and as the years pass I can definitely tell which kids are students from St. Robert as opposed to some of the other schools. They are given a great education and a lot of values that create the foundation for their lifetime of learning and becoming great citizens. They are taught some of the most basic things at this age but some of us forget as we get to adulthood. I want to encourage the parents and the kids to not forget what they learned this year, as this book says, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Congratulation Kindergarten Class of 2010!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Little Champions

Tonight we had our sports banquet at St. Robert. Unfortunately it was during the Laker game so many of the coaches, athletes, and parents wanted to get out of there as soon as possible to cheer on our team. I love to torture kids with speeches but since I had to summarize it I thought I'd at least put it on my blog.

Besides my good looks I have another gift.
Does anyone know what that is?
I can spot champions and as I look around this room that's all I can see.(Stole this from Zig Ziglar)
You guys are student athletes w/ an emphasis on student.
Remember that God has given us sports as a tool to realize our potential.
You're purpose in life is to use your full potential to glorify God.
Scared of not being able to deliver the first part properly I skipped it or maybe I was scared of people laughing and then I'd be thinking if they really don't think I'm good looking. Well I still think they got the message and I'm thankful that it was a private school function so it was okay to mention God :). 

I am very proud of  to announce that my daughter also received "Athlete of the Year". This award was given to her because of her participation in sports since 5th grade and her dedication to her school and keeping up her grades all those years. Most of the time the award only goes to the boys and so she was very excited. Way to end your stay at St. Robert. Now off to some of the best years of your life in high school.



 

Carnegie Was Tough As Steel - Investors.com

Carnegie Was Tough As Steel - Investors.com
Had to share this rags to riches story. Pay attention to the amount of time it took him to build his wealth. In order to set himself apart from others he worked hard so that he can get noticed. His jobs helped educate him in business practices. All of this led to one of the richest men in American history. He was also a philanthropist that helped many but the biggest contribution that has affected me is the commissioning of Napoleon Hill to study the the wealthy and their habits. Napoleon Hill eventually wrote "Think and Grow Rich". This book still influences thousands around the world today. By the way Napoleon Hill was commissioned at no pay. He obviously saw the bigger picture.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

L.A. County makes more big cuts in property tax assessments

L.A. County makes more big cuts in property tax assessments
What is the county going to do w/ less tax revenue? Public schools may be looking at even more cuts. Our county, city, and state officials really need to figure out how to get jobs back into this state so that we can get more of these homes sold and see some increased tax revenue. Our government needs to go into survival mode and really cut back on many of the social services that in my opinion handicap people from really putting in the effort to look for work. Our progressive tax system is obsolete and it's time that our federal government consider the fairtax.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Make the World a Better Place

Jesus gave us one commandment and that was to love one another. We refer to this as the golden rule. I constantly tell my children and remind myself to treat others the way I would want to be treated. We're witnessing a time in our lives full of greed, lies, stealing, and murders. Most of us watch and think to ourselves how can we act like animals. I say this is an insult to animals cause animals seem to understand the circle of life and how survival depends on everything in nature being in balance.

We have handicapped many from being willful participants in society. We have allowed envy to get the best of us and therefore allow people to feel entitled. At one point we believed and were taught that you give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish you feed him for a lifetime. I blame government programs for this phenomenon.

I am not in any way saying that we do not have a duty to help one another out but I am saying that it should not be left up to the government. Our charitable organizations are more efficient than our government and so I strongly believe that it should be there responsibility. Don't be afraid that some people will not give because we as Americans are some of the most charitable people. We all take into consideration that the person having a hardship is our brother or sister in Christ and so we do what we can. The problem is that when it's government some people take advantage of it and in the long run hurt themselves by becoming dependent on assistance.

Love one another and our world will be a better place. Let's take the responsibility of taking care of ourselves and our brothers and sisters back from the government. Allow the government to focus on our nation's security.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Because You Died for Us, We'll Never Forget

Jesus died for us and asked God the father to forgive us. We live because he died for us. We have had other people die for us also. Our service men and women have answered the call to fight for our country without hesitation. Some of them never made it back to their families. This memorial day weekend is in honor of them. They died so that we can continue to enjoy our freedom. I pray that they all were welcomed into heaven and enjoying eternity with our Lord. Remember our fallen service members and say a prayer for them and their families as you get ready to mark the end of the school year, the beginning of summer, and the graduates.

Rest in Peace Brothers and Sisters!!!

Want Financial Prosperity? Get Back to the Basics

I know I'm not the only one that had an affair with credit. We were so in love with each other and just like everything else in my life that has been easy, credit turned out to be my downfall.

Purchasing items, going out to eat, and buying gifts felt good. Well temporarily until the bill came at the end of the month. Then it really hurt once the teaser rates ended. All of a sudden I was a slave to the debt I had incurred. Mortgages, credit card payments, car payments, income taxes and business slowing down was the perfect combination for disaster. Then add salt to my wound and we take our tax money to bail out the banks for their irresponsible business practices. Let me just file bankruptcy but my ex-wife had led me to BK before and I knew it wouldn't solve my love/hate affair with money.

I came across Dave Ramsey's show on Fox Biz. Not sure what kept my eyes glued to his show but it was probably a combination of his common sense talk and his accent. I would watch him on a regular basis and then found him on the radio. His show is now on 980am KFWB from 9am-12pm Monday through Friday. I eventually took the plunge and bought his book,

This book has really opened my eyes and put me on a basic plan of getting my life back. It's also teaching me values that I can now teach my kids. For those of you who are having any kind of financial difficulties or would like some material that you can use to teach your children then tune in to Dave Ramsey. He's helped thousands of people get out of debt and move on to financial prosperity. I'll let you in on what most people say is the secret. Create a budget and stick to it. He doesn't sell a get rich quick scheme cause the only ones that seem to get rich off of those are the ones who sell it. Christian values and biblical teachings about how to handle money is what you'll get from Dave Ramsey.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Family Festival at St. Robert Bellarmine May 14 - 16, 2010

If you happen to be looking for something to do this weekend of May 14 through May 16, 2010 check out St. Robert Bellarmine's Family Festival at 154 N. Fifth St, Burbank, CA. They will be hosting their annual festival with lots of games and food. So if you're in the area come by and support one of your local churches and have some fun while you're at it. Here's a link to the school that benefits from this fundraiser,  http://www.strobertbellarmineschool.com/

Friday, April 30, 2010

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Borrowers Would Do Things Differently

This is what they mean by hindsight is 20/20. Always speak to professionals that have foresight and look after your best interest. I hope that I have gained your trust that you think of me as that trusted professional.
REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Borrowers Would Do Things Differently

Family Festival at St. Finbar Church

Here's a popular event happening in Burbank this weekend of April 30 to May 2nd, 2010. It's the annual fiesta at St. Finbar Church. They have decided to go with a Hawaiian theme, O'hana. Ka Nui: Of Many One Community. I wonder if this means they'll have a booth dedicated to the variety of ways to eat Spam :).
St. Finbar is located at 2010 W. Olive Burbank, CA 91506 where according to the St. Finbar site, St. Finbar "Keystone Meets Olive, People Meet Christ". Here's a link to the map, Map to St. Finbar Church.

You can also find out more information about the event on justburbank.com, O'Hana. Ka Nui. Please join them for some fun and from my past experience there they have tons of great food.

Family Festival at Cristo Rey

If you happen to be looking for something to do this weekend of April 30 through May 2, 2010 check out Cristo Rey Church at 4343 Perlita Ave LA, CA 90039. This church is on the north end of Atwater Village. It's nearest cross street is Chevy Chase. Map of Cristo Rey Church.


They will be hosting their annual festival with rides, games and food. So if you're in the area come by and support one of your local churches and have some fun while you're at it. Here's a sneak peek of what they have set up so far. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TGIF? How About Just TGIA

How times and our culture have changed. Past generations took a lot of pride in having to go to work and you were defined by your work ethic. They were always in survival mode whereas now we really take employment for granted until it is gone. I guess that is expected in an age of entitlements where almost everything has become a right and not a privilege. Our culture loves the phrase "TGIF, thank God it's Friday" and Fridays seem to be the day we wake up with a little more spring in our step. Sunday nights are probably the most depressing because we have to get ready for another work week. Well I want to be able to wake up everyday and say "TGIA, thank God I'm alive". What can you do to make you feel this way? Well we all have gifts that we have been blessed with and we all have different passions but just don't know how to make money using our gifts or pursuing our passion.

I had found that I had a knack for accounting but it was not a field that I enjoyed. I have always loved helping people and using the knowledge I acquire to help others. This is what really drove me into real estate. I believe that property rights are some of the most fundamental rights here in the United States that we have the privilege of enjoying when we work hard to acquire property. I have loved showing people how to do it and the best thing is that my buying clients don't ever have to pay me. The seller's pay the commissions on most real estate transactions.

I have recently read No More Mondays by Dan Miller and it's an inspiring book for those who keep asking what am I supposed to do with my life. This book really does a great job of pointing out that if you are doing something you love than it does not feel like work. When you have a passion for something you really give it your all and your love for that labor shows in the effort you put in to your service or product. Let's get away from only thanking God for one day of the week and gravitate towards thanking him for everyday we get to be alive.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Does God Exist? My Faith Tells Me Yes

Many people don't believe in the existence of God or any other god. Many people have blind faith. Who is right? Can we rely on science to prove everything? Is the existence of life only on one planet in this vast universe the result of random events? Was everything planned by one supreme being or infinite intelligence? This blog is just to share one of my experiences and why I believe in God and why this faith has me believing in Jesus Christ. Will I judge you if you don't believe, no cause that's not my job. My duty, according to the bible, is to share my belief. Don't ask me where it says this cause I've mentioned before that my memory is bad and I have trouble memorizing scripture.

This morning I went for a hike in Glendale, CA at Brand Park, http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=XTR003-024. I had a lot of things on my mind, mostly prayers for friends that I wanted God to hear. I always feel that a good walk helps clear my head for meditation and good conversation with God. For some reason I thought making myself really struggle and climb over 1000 feet would put me in a better position for him to hear me :). I know the link says it's a 6.5 mile loop but I don't want anyone to think I did 6.5 miles. Since I was a kid there's one spot on this trail that I've always climbed up to but for some reason being 50 pounds overweight makes this seem a lot farther than it was when I was a kid. I made this spot my goal and I was focused to reach my goal.

On the way up I was faced by the devil. He took the shape of a sharp pain in my lower back. Eager to make me give up the pain compounded and my breathing became heavier. The temptation to quit was growing stronger and I started to think if God really wants to hear from me he'll make the devil go away. Not even half way up the devil did a good job at making me realize my weaknesses. I am overweight, out of shape, and weak. I am alone and starting to feel that God has abandoned me.

All of a sudden I felt a boost in my will power. Thoughts raced through my head that continued to encourage me. I focused on why I started this journey. I started thinking of the struggle Jesus went through as he carried the cross and eventually died for us. My faith was giving me the strength and filling me with hope that I will complete my goal. God showed me the best example of being a great Father. He allowed me to take on as much as I'm capable of taking on by myself before he filled my mind with encouragement. I was never really alone, he was always right there with me. As a father I have to do the same with my children. Make sure that I allow them to take on things on their own and give them the right amount of encouragement. I want to make sure I do not intervene and this way they will grow in faith also. Because of my faith I always have hope.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WHAT IS A "BINDING" CONTRACT OF SALE FOR IRS TAX CREDIT PURPOSES?? "Let's all be careful out there.."

We as Realtors have to disclose that all tax advice must be sought from a tax professional. I will form an opinion from what I have read and found out but in the end my advice is to consult with a tax professional. I ran across Lenn Harley's blog while on hold for close to an hour with the IRS trying to get an opinion on what constitutes a binding contract in a short sale situation. Ms. Burchett #0246491 basically said to me that the binding agreement is between buyer and seller. To tell you the truth I don't think she really understood what a short sale was although I tried to explain that the lender ultimately approves the sale. For my own selfish reasons I would like to end it there but I have to agree with Lenn and advise everyone to seek their own advice from a qualified tax professional or the IRS themselves.

My real conclusion is that the tax code is too complicated and we ultimately need to figure out how to increase tax revenue while lowering the tax burden and my suggestion is that everyone look into the Fairtax at http://www.fairtax.org.

Via Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate:
WHAT IS A "BINDING" CONTRACT OF SALE FOR IRS TAX CREDIT PURPOSES??
Depends on whether you are a
  • HOME BUYER
  • HOME SELLER
  • REAL ESTATE LICENSEE
  • IRS TAX FORM REVIEWER
  • LEGISLATIVE BILL WRITER
  • OTHER
Sadly, this is a perfect example of the fact that the brains who dreamed up the income tax credit do not have the foggiest idea about how their programs effect the tax payers, or should I use the term the IRS uses, "Worker".  You gotta love that.  SEE:
The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?  Because the determination of what constitutes a BINDING contract may cause the denial of the tax credit to MILLIONS of tax return filers who believe that they qualify, plan to use the funds and, generally, realy on the advice OF REAL ESTATE AGENTS in matters of real estate.
HAVE YOU BEEN ASKED FOR ADVICE ABOUT THE CREDIT???  I surely have. 
Lola Audu  has published a post examining this matter, however, as with any real estate practitioner, has serious questions about the meaning of the IRS guidelines.  As for Jim Hale's thoughtful comment, I could easily read the IRS instructions that way.  However, without APPROVAL by the seller's lender, there is no "binding" agreement.  What "binds" a Contract of Sale??
For one thing, satisfaction of all contingencies.  When is the "lender approval" contingency of the Contract of Sale for a short sale satisfied??  When you get the approval letter FROM THE SELLER'S LENDER.
Sadly, those conditions do not include satisfaction of that critical contingency, approval of the Contract of Sale by the Seller's lender.  Without which, there has not been, is not and never will be a BINDING Contract.
What is going to happen when thousands of home buyers file for the tax credit and the IRS denies their application because, without satisfaction of that contingency by April 30, there is no BINDING Contract of Sale.
The key word is, of course, BINDING.
I'm willing to accept that, for purposes of the Tax Credit, the BINDING condition for claiming the tax credit is the date of acceptance between the parties, the BUYER and the SELLER.
However, I am not going to STAKE MYSELF OUT AND GIVE THAT ADVICE TO A CONSUMER.  I'm going to refer inquiries to the IRS web site and let the consumer come to their own conclusions or the advice of their tax consultant.
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.

                           TAX CREDIT
"Honey, were you able to find out if our contract will qualify for the tax credit?"
"Not yet Dear.  I asked 4 people and got 4 answers."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Birthday My Baby Girl

Happy Birthday My Baby Girl

Alaina,

The day you were born not only did you breathe for the first time but I was also born again.



That morning of April 20, 1996 God blessed us with a little angel. I never knew unconditional love until that day.



Despite all you have been through these 14 years of life, you have managed to adapt to change. I’m very proud of the young lady you have become.



You not only are beautiful and smart but you are a very caring person. You’re a great granddaughter, daughter, older sister, cousin, and friend. God has blessed everyone who knows you with you.



I’d love to tell you that life gets easier but then you wouldn’t appreciate what life is really about. You will grow in faith when faced with struggles and you will take them on confidently because I will always be there for you.



Love,



Daddy



  Still My Baby Girl, Love You!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commodity Supplemental Food Program March 31, 2010

Going hungry is a terrible thing. There's a program for senior brought to you by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Seniors 60 years and older are invited to participate in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

They can receive a free food kit once a month. This kit is prepared w/ specific nutrional needs such as: meats, canned fruits and vegetables, dry milk and related products, cereals and other grain products plus much more.

Program Requirements for Seniors are:

* California ID or Driver's License
* Proof of Income - SSI or pension (bank statement, check stub, benefit award letter) or
* Medi-Cal Card

The senior can also authorize someone to pick up the kit every month but they must bring that person the first time the register.

The next distribution will be at the Salvation Army in Glendale, 320 East Windsor Rd, 91204.

Next Wednesday, March 31, 2010 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Please pass this along to any seniors you know.

Monday, March 22, 2010

From Bad to Worse Now That's Historic Reform

Let me disclose that I am against our government continuing to bailout corporations and individuals. I feel that their primary job is to protect its citizens and keep our borders safe. Just because I believe that it is not our government's job to provide affordable homes or health insurance does not mean that I don't think it is our individual responsibilities to help out our neighbors in need.

No matter how hard we try we will always have rich, poor, and middle class. By trying to eliminate poor we try to punish the rich in the form of higher taxes. The rich have a way of making it all roll downhill so the middle class suffer. Yes we can continue to be envious of all the money that the rich have but the majority of the rich are first generation millionaires. They worked hard all their life and didn't live beyond their means to get where they are at today. Now because of our envy we look at them as the evil person and that they need to pay for our social programs.

You can continue to believe that paying your fair share of taxes is fine and let us allow the government to run our lives and our businesses. Then one day we will realize that businesses have left to find other tax havens and our unemployment continues to rise. Who do we tax when our businesses are gone and someone does not have a job to pay taxes. Even the Bible states that we'll always have poor in Deuteronomy 15:11 "Of course, there will never cease to be poor people in the country, and that is why I am giving you this command: Always be open handed with your brother, and with anyone in your country who is in need and poor."

I will always believe that we can help people better with local community hospitals to address wellness programs. People can pay for these services in cash and others can apply for aid. People can then purchase high deductible insurance plans for emergencies. The reason I want it out of the hands of government is because we have seen generations of families become handicap to the government's helping hand. There's no guilt in taking from the government but taking charity from someone will make people want to provide for themselves and one day pay it forward through their own contributions.

Let's help our neighbors who do need it and those who don't please continue to pay it forward. After all we are all brothers and sisters under God and we need to find a balance where we continue to encourage innovation while not allowing others to suffer. We just can't have our government continue to raise the tax burden for everyone and think that we will still encourage investors to invest in some of the most innovative people that can advance medical technology. Maybe we can raise tax revenues to pay for it all if we adopted a fairtax, http://www.fairtax.org.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Growing Closer to God

Our earthly parents are supposed to prepare us to leave them. Unlike them our earthly Father pushes us so that we can get closer to him. I have made my life as transparent as possible and so you know that I have had my fair share of struggles. I still have trials that I am going through and when I was younger I asked God why and what the heck did I do to deserve such luck. In the past week I have gone on 2 hikes and finished reading 2 books that have really helped me grow spiritually. I need to share this with you so that hopefully I can inspire others to seek the same type of growth.

This blog was definitely inspired by the book I just read. Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life's Terms, by Zig Ziglar is a very inspirational book. Not only does he share his own story but he has a few others in there as well. I have said this before but I'll repeat it again. When I was going through my divorce and realizing that being the only parent that was going to look after the kids I felt the weight of the world. We always feel so alone in our darkest hour especially when our relationship with God is not as strong as it should be. The morning of September 11, 2001 I woke up a little later than usual and decided to take my time and watch the news. The events of that day will always be on our minds but those same events made me realize that what I was going through was nothing compared to how thousands of people had just been affected. Life can change in an instant and at that moment I began to pray for thousands of other people that I have never met and my life wasn't all about me.

Struggles in our life we definitely try to avoid but when they do happen we must take the lesson from it and grow spiritually the way God has intended for us. I don't question God anymore cause I know with his guidance he will lead us to where we're supposed to be. As a matter of fact I don't even ask God for patience cause he always seems to bless me with the opportunity to show patience. I guess that's where "be careful what you ask for" comes from. I now thank God for everything he has given me. I praise him for the good and I praise him for the opportunity to learn and overcome struggles. I pray that all of you can also experience the clearing of your vision the way I have. Below is a dedication or poem that I just wrote for my daughter's yearbook as she gets ready to graduate. Be kind cause I'm not a poet and as I started to rhyme I couldn't help but try to be funny. I hope you enjoy.

God's Gift

When I was young I was lost.
My selfish mind was the cause.
I thought of nothing else but to coast through life,
Lots of money, a house, and a lovely wife.
Needless to say I'm quite not there,
money in my wallet is quite rare.
Instead God has blessed me with you,
and soon to follow another two.
You have grown faster than I'd like,
but you'll always be my baby who I taught how to ride a bike.
You were God's gift to me.
You cleared up my vision and now I can see.
Unfortunately you have only seen the struggle,
Having you and your brothers I have learned how to juggle.
It is through the struggles that we grow spiritually,
and you have grown extraordinarily.
The lesson I hope that you have learned from this,
is to keep God close so that your life is bliss.
The struggles that you have endured so far,
are God's gift to you instead of a car.
One day you'll look back and see
that God was really looking over you and me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Dreaded Sex Talk

Last night I decided to ask my daughter for a few minutes of her time so that I can have a serious conversation with her. I didn't think that the time for me to have the talk with my little girl was ever going to come. I had to realize that although she will always be my little girl to others she is now a teenager and it is a matter of time that I'm going to have to pull out my shotgun (just kidding I don't own a gun but my hands are considered lethal). Reading Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World made me realize that if I didn't talk to her than she would get her information from some smooth talking teen or from her friends who probably get all their information from shows like "Gossip Girl"

I kept my conversation very simple. I simply told her all men are pigs and save yourself for marriage. Okay not that simple but going into it that's all I wanted to say. I have taught my kids using myself as an example so that I hope they can relate and take my advice to heart. I wish my parents would have talked to me more about it but growing up and reaching my teens it seemed perfectly fine to lose your virginity. I lost mine by the 9th grade and that's the same grade my daughter is going to be in next year. This might be a shocker to most men but yes I wish I had saved myself.

The following is why I wish I would have saved myself and what I shared with my daughter. When we start to have feelings for the opposite sex you start to realize changes in your body. As a young boy you begin to get aroused and then talking to your immature friends you then believe that you must go out and have a conquest. I had one girlfriend throughout high school and I believe one of the reasons why was because once I had sex that is all I could think about. Why get to know other girls when I knew where sex was readily available to me. Once the relationship became about sex it was all about sex to me, the boy. I can't speak for girls and how they feel and I am not going to try to do that to my daughter. Hopefully her aunt will talk to her.

"Your virginity is something special and should be shared with someone special, preferably your husband", where the final words I told her. We also went over dating guidelines and how she should only seek relationships with boys that add value to her life. My daughter is a very smart girl and she was more concerned on why she can't date until she's 16 (2 years away). She felt better when I told her that she can go out with groups of friends and the 16 year old rule is to go out on a 1 on 1 date.

In the end I am glad that I had started the talk. I say started cause I know it is not over. At least now she knows that she can talk to me. My baby is growing up and I have come to terms with that. I only hope that she will take some of the lessons that I've learned from my mistakes and make better decisions than I did.

She'll always be Daddy's little girl.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

2010 T-ball Mets - Division Champions


Our season is over :(. We came one game short from reaching our goal of making it to the championship. The only loss we had and it happened in the semifinals. Our defeat came to the Cardinals from St. Roberts. We could not have lost to a better group of kids, parents, and coaches. If we had to lose to an organization I'm glad it was to one from our same parish because I believe that we have the classiest organization. Yes I might be biased but you can find out for yourself by becoming part of it next year. Bookmark this page http://www.bplbaseball.com and get ready for sign ups during the last weekend of September and first weekend of October.

The Mets still ended the season as division champs but as we kept on winning during the season we started to focus more and more on the championship and winning rather than having fun. I wrote about these kids last year, http://mariovillagransmind.blogspot.com/2009/03/2009-st-robert-bellarmine-mets-t-ball.html. What they accomplished from last year to this year is amazing. I can honestly say that we started out the season really focused on learning, trying our best, and having fun. We taught the kids that winning would be a result of putting those things together. As the season went on and we continued to win games we started to lose focus. As manager I take sole responsibility and I am a little upset with myself for not controlling it more. I knew we were out of control once I heard parents complaining about the changes I would make so that I can get all the kids involved. We forgot that we were dealing with 4 to 8 years old kids. The pressure really started to build. I could only imagine what my kids were feeling since I was also having a nervous breakdown on the sideline. The winning is everything mentality did us in and because of it I had kids that were crying in the end instead of smiling and it was honestly heart breaking.

In the end the children had a great season and we were all brought back down to reality. The focus of t-ball is to teach, have fun, encourage children to try their best, and hopefully they end up loving the game. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to teach these kids because they in return have taught me so much. The friendships that were made by these kids and the parents also will last a lifetime. I know I'll see most of these kids playing all through their childhood and having fun along the way. This is why they will always be Champions. Below is a letter from me to the Cardinals wishing them luck. I included this cause I want to show what kind of sportsmanship is taught in the Parochial league.

Dear Cardinals,
Hard fought game tonight between two teams from the same Parish. I've written before about how t-ball in the parochial league is no laughing matter. It's a competitive league and tonight's game proved it. The undefeated T-ball Mets took on the Cardinals. Some would say it was like David taking on Goliath.
The pressure really got to some of the Mets players. As their coach I was a very upset with myself and my inability to get them to focus on having fun. Seeing these 4 to 8 year old kids cracking under all the pressure put on them to win was disheartening.  This isn't to take away from the Cardinals cause they played some awesome ball tonight.
The Cardinals batted first and were held to a scoreless first inning. The Mets scored 2 runs in the first inning and the Cardinals hung in strong and kept themselves in the game. I would recap the rest of the game but I was so nervous that I lost track. In the end the Cardinals were the hungrier team and won by 2 points. If we had to lose a game I'm glad we lost to the Cardinals and that SRB will be represented well in the championship. You guys are led by 2 great coaches in Tony and John. The Cardinal parents were also a great crowd.
I know there might have been talk about SRB stacking a team since the Mets had such a great record but tonight showed that SRB always puts teams together that can beat each other on any given night. I'm so happy to be part of such a great organization. I wish the Cardinals lots of luck in the championship versus the SFX Reds. The Mets will be there to cheer you guys on. Go Cardinals!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taking The High Road Can Be So Hard

Competition can bring out the best in the competitors. It can also bring out the worst in some competitors, parents, and fans. As a coach I try to teach the kids that God gave us sports so that we can realize our potential. It's also a tool to teach sportsmanship, teamwork, and just have fun. Winning will be the end result when you put all the above pieces of the puzzle together.

We overwhelm ourselves with winning. As fans and parents winning sometimes becomes the only thing that we forget to accept losing as a chance for our kids to learn. This attitude eventually reflects in our children, after all they model their behavior after their parents.

The other night my son's baseball team pulled off a win to make it into the 2nd round of the playoffs and the other team was crushed. This team had beaten us the previous two outings that we met in very close games. This nigh time had just expired and so they couldn't play a 6th inning. Knowing that there was one more inning that could be played the other coach tried to convince the umpire to bend the rules and allow for the last inning to be played. Obviously the other team was crushed because they only lost by 1 point. It is hard for me to blame the coach for trying cause you get caught up in the moment and if there was a few seconds that would have allowed them to start the inning then why not ask. The problem I have is with the character of some of the players and parents after.

Once the umpire had explained about the time expiring then it is obvious that we play by the rules and we don't bend them in order to win. I can't say what the opposing coach told his players. I could only hope that he told them that they played a great game and put in a great effort. What I do know is that at least one parent tried to take some happiness away from my son and I. Here's what was said in front of my boy:
Me: "Congratulations you guys played a great game. These 2 teams always play each other tough and it makes for an exciting game."
Other Parent: "Yeah it was a great game but they should have let them played the last inning. It wasn't right for them to end it."
Other Kid: "What a cheesy win!"
Other Parent: "Well anyways we beat you guys twice and you won this one. Your coach shouldn't have talked to the umpires about ending the game"
Me: "Oh well great game"

Yes I walked away. Keep in mind that our coach had not said one word to the umpire. The umpire looked at his watch and called it. I knew that they were so bitter that it blinded them to what was really going on so it was not worth arguing. I really wanted to say something because of the fact of what the kid said and the fact that she had the audacity to say this in front of my kid who was really happy to win. The adolescent in me wanted to say well we won when it counted and it's playoffs so it's win or go home but I didn't. I had to remember that I set an example for my kid and my athletes.

It is very tough to take that high road especially as a parent that feels their kid is being attacked. What kept me from doing it is thinking about the hurt that they had just experienced. I can't blame the kid for what he said after listening to the parent. Reacting to what they said can have easily made a bad situation worse. I put my arm around my son and explained to him that in life sometimes people react negatively cause they're hurt. "Misery loves company" and so they will try to bring you down with them. You have to rise above it and not allow for anyone to take away your joy. He understood that showing good sportsmanship is on both the losing and winning end. I was happy to see that what they said didn't affect him but I know had I reacted, which was the easiest thing to do, it would have affected him negatively.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Only T-Ball

Don't repeat those words around the Burbank Parochial League, http://www.bplbaseball.com. This league has one of the most competitive t-ball divisions I've seen. This, I believe, has been one of the biggest draw to this league besides being one of the few winter leagues around. For the most part parents and coaches are civil.

I have the pleasure of managing for a second year the St. Robert Bellarmine Mets. This is a great group of kids who have managed to go undefeated through the regular season. In t-ball you get some kids that are more interested in playing with the grass than paying attention to the game. That was not the case with my kids. Okay, maybe just a few but they kept it to a minimum. I want to credit this to a new approach I took with the kids. I also coach coach for my kids' school and since it's a catholic school, I'm required to take some training courses. Thank God I did because I ran across the University of Notre Dame's "Play Like A Champion" training. You can find more information at http://www.playlikeachampion.org.

I was able to implement what I learned and had a successful season with all the teams I coach from my win-less girls' basketball team to my undefeated t-ball team. How can someone say that their win-less team had a successful season? I also use to judge success based on records. This program kept me focused on what my job as a coach of young children really is and that if I do my job right I will develop champions.

Whether we were winning or not I was able to teach and keep the game fun for the kids. What my kids have learned is that sports is about competition. When people compete there's always one that is crowned but we can not forget about what that competition did for everyone. It brings out everyone's full potential. For that reason is why we always pray before a game and ask God to keep us focused so that we can give it our best and bring out the best in our competitor.

Competition can also bring out the worst in some people when not approached the right way. We get into this win at all cost attitude. I know sometimes my parents freak out when I do this but I try to mix up the players and their positions. I don't want to win and find out that I hurt someone's feelings because I didn't play them enough. I want to encourage the smaller kids to come back to the sport.

Well my t-ball team starts playoffs next weekend and if they lose in the first round I wouldn't care, okay just a little. I already know that my team is a success. Today the kids told me what they have learned and that is to have fun, be a good sport, try our best, pray that everyone is safe, and thank the parent who brought the snacks :).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working Yourself Out of a Job

"When you're 18 I'm free!", this is the phrase some of us say when we're joking about parenting. Well some of us are joking others maybe serious. You can ask any grandparent and they'll all tell you that it never ends but the demands from the children just change.

I've spent most of my parenting as a single parent. I remember taking on the task and swearing off of any relationships until my kids are 18 and off to college. This was 9 years ago and yes it is tough. I'm not at all a psychologist but I did know that if I did focus on a relationship for myself that it would create drama for my kids, especially my daughter. This is not about me so let me get back on track. In this day and age even two parent households face a very tough time raising their kids. We find ourselves working more and spending less time with the kids. Being under the same roof is not the same as spending time.

"Kids spell L-O-V-E, T-I-M-E" - Zig Ziglar. I love this quote because it is so true. I'm told that I'm a patient man but I don't see that. Sometimes I feel that I can scare my kids away when I'm coaching. I'm really competitive and it shows when I coach. To my surprise the kids love me and their parents aren't concerned about my yelling. Leads me to the conclusion that kids just appreciate that someone cares about them and is willing to play with them. The parents must appreciate that it's not them that is yelling at their kids.

Whoever follows my blogs or me on Facebook or Twitter can see that I spend a lot of time with the kids. I have even been asked by other parents if I ever work. I know they did not mean any harm. They actually follow up and congratulate me for spending so much time and volunteering my time as a coach. We have so many demands on our time that we start to forget the real reason why we work so much. Eventually the material goods that we want, not need, become a burden. Then we start trying to buy our kids love.

Being thrown into single parenthood was a huge wake up call. Prior to that I was about status. I was young and having status felt like it meant so much. Deep down inside I was in conflict with how my parents had raised me. I allowed my then wife to convince me to spend as if there was no tomorrow. Divorce, single parenthood, bankruptcy, etc... brought me back down to earth. What was important now was God, family, and friends. Needless to say I feel that my purpose in life is to raise my kids and give back to the community by being a positive influence to other kids. This is the kind of greed that I'm proud of cause it doesn't pay anything but I get points with God.

To answer the question if I work, yes and all the time. As a Realtor who is a know it all I'm there as a resource to all my contacts. People will call me with real estate questions, tax questions, and even directions. Do I always get paid no but that's not what I'm concerned with. I am concerned that I'm there to serve others. The real estate business is where I make my money and because I serve others eventually they reward me with a referral. My business is round the clock. It is more flexible than a 9 to 5 but I am on the clock from 7am to 11pm. Thanks to PDA's, laptops, and technology I have found something that I love to do and is flexible enough to be a parent that is hands on. Also I have learned to accept help from friends and family. The circle I have around the kids and myself is full of very loving people. My character is a reflection of my surroundings.

This brings me to the point I'm trying to make. When you decide to become a parent it should be job number one. Plan your career and life according to the children. We should always be striving to make the next generation better. Get the kids away from the TV and go out and play with them. We all need to try to be kids again but be careful cause I've realized I don't bounce up as easily as them. Remember the freedom our parents gave us. These freedoms have allowed us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. What I do is point out the mistakes I've made to my kids and I ask them not to repeat them. In the end wisdom comes from experience. I love my job as a parent but to be an effective parent I know that one day I will have worked myself out of this job and set these kids free.