How To Tackle Mondays

Sometimes I get stressed out on Sunday evenings because the thought of Monday being right around the corner was overwhelming.  To me, Mondays symbolized the beginning of a week jam-packed with long hours, fatigue, paperwork, irate clients, and never-ending to-do lists.  It's something that I don't see people get excited about.

Some of my friends used to tell me that after Monday, the rest of the week was easier.  As much as I tried to adopt that mentality, every day of the week seemed challenging in their own unique ways.  Some days were busier than others.  Deadlines had to be met and they occur all throughout the week.

Just recently, Mondays hasn't seemed so different than the other days of the week.  I was busy every day; weekdays and weekends. Every day had its stressful moments (the weekdays had more of them), but there were also delightful parts that made each day worthwhile.

Whether I like it or not, Mondays are inevitable.  We spend 1/7th of our lives on a Monday.  Trying to defeat or eradicate Mondays would be a futile effort.  I just had to learn to accept it, but hack my mind to possess a positive attitude about it.

Mondays are unique.  They are the days I get to see my colleagues again after not seeing them for a couple days.  Asking them, "How was your weekend?" is always a good conversation starter.  Mondays are the days I set a weekly goal that I push myself to meet.  Being back at work gives me an opportunity to develop professionally.  I get to enhance my leadership skills and try fun ways to supercharge my productivity.  Another important point: Mondays are the days I get to least worry about Friday deadlines.

Maybe Mondays aren't so bad.  They're just another day that ends with a "y."

Love & Coffee

My love is like a cup of coffee:

She is simply like no other;
      sweet, rich, creamy,
            and full of infinite flavor.

She is my first kiss in the morning,
      my daily comfort
      and survival serum
            that I crave every day.

When I feel her flow through my beings,
      I am my full self.
I am more than I can ever be
      and more than I could possibly be.

My love is complex in composition;
she fills my cup with memories and smiles
      that cannot concievably overflow.

She is my addiction,
my world's beautiful driving force,
the treasure my heart cannot possibly live without.

How I Realized How Blessed I Really Am

After a long, busy, and demanding work week, it's good to be home.  It's nice waking up with the comfort of not having to commute and come home late in the afternoon.  Today is my day to spend quality time with my family, run some necessary errands, and let myself rejuvenate.

This is when I contemplate the bigger truth: I really don't have much to complain about. I mean, I could be picky and find thousands of things to complain about, but I really don't want to (and I really don't need to). That negativity isn't good for my aura. 

I have a job that I love and I'm really good at it.  Being an educator gives me the satisfaction that I'm doing something positive for society (and it helps pay the bills too).  I rarely drive in traffic to work (no one really looks forward to traffic) and my colleagues are amazing people.

Home is where my heart smiles.  I live in a nice roomy home in a quiet neighborhood.  My bookshelves are bursting with books (I really should invest in another large bookshelf). Everything I need is right here, to want more is unnecessary.

Most importantly, I have a terrific family who love me for exactly who I am.  They look forward to spending time with me and I absolutely love my time with them.  The more I think about it, the more I realize how blessed I am.  

Why This is My Tool of Choice

This is my lightsaber, my wizard wand, and my sonic screwdriver all in one.  If I was King Arthur, this would be my Excalibur.  My pen is my tool of choice.  It gives me a powerful voice yet remains physically silent.  With it, I can carve out ideas, draw thoughts, and express raw emotion in any way I imagine.

This pen is also how I communicate who I am.  If what I write is a reflection of me, then how I write is its counterpart.  Why I write is my purpose of being.

This is how I let Anger and Frustration out and let them sort it out themselves.  This is how I let Happiness and Joy out to play with others.  It's how I artistically give pieces of myself freely to this world.

13 Things Every Gentleman Needs to Understand

What does every guy need to understand in order to be a gentleman? What traits and characteristics would I want every man in society to have?  As a parent, I want to raise my two year old son to be a gentleman, not when he is older, but starting now.  Life is a learning process and based on my experience, this is what I want him to learn as he gets older:

Being authentically yourself is the best you can be.
I've learned many times over (and still to this day) the value of being true to who I am.  There have been countless times I've tried to be like someone else because I didn't want to be me, but the same lesson comes back and hits me: I can only be me. Everyone else is already taken.  I might as well be the best me I can possible make out of me.

Context is everything.
The difference between making the right decisions and the wrong ones is understanding context.  Usually an issue/problem/obstacle is more complex than it seems.  Understanding the background and details of the situation makes all the difference.

Intelligence is invaluable.
It may sound obvious, but it pays to be smart.  Our society is plagued with the cool-guy slacker mentality.  Having intelligence and the skills to apply them are worthwhile traits that few people are blessed to have. It opens doors of opportunity, enhances career options, and gives people a better chance of having the dream life they desire.

Grace is just as important as strength.
Being strong is good, but having grace is having the control to use both strength and grace when appropriate.

There is strength in showing emotion.
As kids, boys are taught not to cry and that showing those emotions are a girly thing (and that's bad).  We're told that it's a sign of weakness and to "man up."  This generates a lifelong internal conflict of bottled emotions.  Our emotions make us who we are.  They make us strong leaders when we can empathize with others and well-grounded human beings when we can sympathize.

Being brave comes from being afraid.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward despite being in the face of fear. Without fear there is no courage.

It takes a lot of manliness for men to play with their daughters.
Men have sons, but they also have daughters. Playing with their sons is manly, but so is playing with their daughters. In my humble opinion, it's the manliest thing a gentleman can do.  Putting aside any "unmanly" reservations about playing with their daughters in any way is a sign of a true gentleman.

We will never truly understand what it is like to be a woman.
I can imagine what it is like to be a woman in this gendered society. I can think about how it feels to be a girl walking alone at night.  I can wonder what it feels like to be pregnant and feel life grow inside of me. As much as I know what it is like, I will never truly understand the depth and complexity of it.

Communication and compromise are keys to every great relationship.
Communication brings people together, compromise keeps them in harmony.  When people understand each other and can make appropriate decisions on both of their behalf, it is a good relationship.

It's okay to be wrong sometimes.
Everyone isn't 100% right 100% of the time (myself included).  Making mistakes gives me opportunities to grow.  Learning from my mistakes allows me to muster up courage (by admitting I was wrong), repair relationships, a wake up call, and wisdom for the future.

At times, it's perfectly fine to ask for help.
Growing up, I didn't like asking for help. I always wanted to prove that I could do whatever it was on my own.  For some reason, guys are conditioned growing up to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  It's a destructive thought for the ego and counter productive.  If you've tried your best to seek out every possible solution and still need help, it's not weak to ask for it.  It would be far worse to stay stuck.

Real gentlemen cook/clean/do whatever it is necessary to be a responsible human being.
As a family man, I do whatever it takes to take care of my wife and son.  Sometimes I cook dinner, sometimes I do the dishes, and most times I do both. Sometimes it's easy and other times the chores are physically taxing, especially after a long day at work.  Even if I don't want to, I still do it anyway (with the best attitude I can muster), because I am fully committed to do anything and everything to tend to my family.

Being a gentleman is sexy.
Enough said.

How a Simple Act of Kindness Made People Instantly Happier

This was an unexpected yet delightful surprise. A few days ago, I went to Target on the way home from a long day at work to buy outer space bed sheets for my little son. But due to the fact that it was sold out, I ended up just picking up a pack of gum.

For some reason, all the available cashiers had congested lines, so I stood in the line that looked like the shortest to me. I stood behind a middle-aged guy who had a semi-full cart. He turned around, looked at me, and in a Filipino American accent he asked, "Is that all you have?"

"Yeah," I replied caught off guard. 

"Go ahead."

"It's okay. I'm in no hurry."

"I insist. Go ahead. Please."

He then moved to the side and prompted me to go in front of him. Respecting his kind gesture, I went ahead.  

"Thank you," I gratefully responded. 

"No problem." 

That small act of kindness did brighten up my day a bit. As I waited for the person in front of me to finish her transaction, two teenage boys joined the back of the line,  They were only buying two shirts and some school supplies.

"Is that all you have? Go ahead," said the gentleman to the boys. Respectfully, they said thank you and  accepted the man's offer. Almost instantly, the man looked behind him and saw a woman holding a small basket of items. 

"Go ahead."

"Are you sure?" she asked. 

"Yes. No problem. I have plenty of time."

Like the two boys and me, she accepted the gentleman's offer with gratitude. 

Right after that, I paid for the gum and said, "Thanks again," before I left. Just like that, in the span of about 3 minutes, an ordinary stranger made the day a little happier to four people instantly with a simple act of kindness. 


Dear Friend,

Happy birthday! I want to wish you the absolute happiest birthday you've ever had.  Today, celebrate this milestone in this beautiful adventure we call life.
On this day...

I wish you happiness: pure and abundant joy.  May you live every single day overflowing with honest delight.  I wish you a lifetime of love, fabulous friendships, and the most sincere smiles.  This is what you irrefutably deserve.

I wish you bountiful success.  May you have the life you deeply desire.  In your family life, career path, and personal goals, I hope you achieve your deepest dreams.  Remember that you always have all my support.

I wish you a life of meaningful memories.  When we think back on our lives, everything is catalogued in wondrous moments.  With each passing day, may you build a precious portfolio of priceless memories to look back and be proud of.  As your friend, I can genuinely say that my memories with you are nostalgically wonderful.

Just remember, birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.




The Elegant Beauty of Lights at Night (in Black and White)

Beauty can be both simple and complex.  In a way, it can be simple in its complexity.  There is something elegantly beautiful about light at night.   To some people, it represents clarity in situations of  uncertainty.   To me, it symbolizes a source of hope in the vast darkness.

Light enables us see the path before us, guides us through our journeys, and at times, calls us home.  It exists in our lives in so many different ways.  Literally or figuratively, light is a powerful and beautiful thing.

(Click photos to enlarge)

Hope is...

(Adjectives in alphabetical order)

  • Audacious
  • Brave
  • Courageous
  • Determined
  • Empowering
  • Foundational
  • Growing
  • Honest
  • Inspirational
  • Joyful
  • Kind
  • Loving 
  • Motivational
  • Needed
  • Outstanding
  • Powerful
  • Quick
  • Relentless
  • Sporadic
  • Thoughtful
  • Understanding
  • Vivacious
  • Wondrous
  • Xeroxed
  • Youthful
  • Zestful

Why Slow Progress is Still Great Progress

Sometimes it's really easy to forget that slow movement is still progression.  It's understandable to get frustrated with not being where we want to be right now.  For those times, here is something to remember: just because we're not there yet, it doesn't mean that we'll never get there eventually.

When I first started college, I had a hard time adjusting to the new transition.  After finding out that my initial major (Computer Science) truly wasn't for me, I felt hopelessly lost. My life plan of studying computers and making a lot of money afterwards was no longer an option.  I had no Plan B; I never thought I'd need one.  I didn't know what else I wanted to study. Consequently, I lost my vision, passion, and drive.  I remember thinking of college graduation as some far-fetched dream.

Fortunately, I found a major (Sociology) that I was passionate about.  Studying the complexities of society opened my eyes to the whole world and made me think about it in ways that most people don't. I was blessed to have professors that mentored me into the scholar I am today.  It wasn't easy, but it was totally worth it.  It took me longer than four years to finish, but I eventually did.

In the long run, finishing college was more important than finishing in four years.  Graduating opened up doors of opportunity throughout my entire career.  Taking longer to graduate wasn't much of an issue; not graduating would have been a huge issue.  

A Glimpse at Huntington Beach

Labor Day. Monday, September 2, 2013. Huntington Beach. 2:22 PM. 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  The sun is coming out through the dissipating fog. It's been hot and humid, and finally it's getting better.  There is a cool breeze that keeps me peacefully comfortable.

Three college-aged guys on the left are playing music together. Two with a guitar, one with a mandolin, all singing something that Jack Johnson or Dave Matthews would sing. I can't decide whether to enjoy their music or tell them to stop because I can't hear the calming sounds of the waves.

To the left and right I see a streaming rainbow of umbrellas. Right in front I see a row of people standing on the shore waiting for the waves to come hit them. Around me families are setup in circles. They are sharing meals and shade. I hear baby laughter. It reminds me of how natural the beach is. 

Watching waves glide over the ocean and burst on the shore has a serene effect.  I can't figure out why, but then decide to stop questioning it and enjoy the raw beauty.

Each wave is unique, just like every single moment. There has never been another one before like it nor will there be another after.  I'm blessed to be right here right now to witness all this.

Life is good. It is now, as it always should be. 

Why Being Focused Truly Matters

Nowadays, it's extraordinarily easy to be distracted. Smartphone addiction, endless advertisements, and the growing number of digital screens make it tough to focus on what needs our attention. There are many times I've caught myself peering at my phone checking news, status updates, and emails. I imagine that I would be way more distracted if I started playing Candy Crush Saga (thank goodness I haven't).

Being distracted can be costly. It can make our perspective on priorities blurry. It can loosen connections with loved ones. Distractions prevent us from authentically enjoying the abundant wonders life holds right in front of our eyes. 

For some reason, I always feel like I'm in some sort of life transition. Maybe I am. Right now, my main focus is being the best possible husband to my wife and greatest father to my son. When I'm at work, I focus on being the educator the world needs me to be. Wherever I'm at, focus is how I get through the day. 

Focus is how I am mentally present where I physically am. It keeps my attention to what's really important and helps me ignore the negativity. The plan has been, still is, and always will be to focus on being the person I'll forever be proud of.