blogentry_michael

Understanding People is Difficult

blogentry_michaelI’ve said many times in previous posts that the key to really developing good relationships and bonds with people is to make sure you understand them. It’s easier said than done because let’s face it, understanding people is difficult. Every single person has a different personality. Every single person has a different agenda. Every single person reacts differently to what you have to say and what you do.

The reason that this topic popped into my head this morning is because I received an invitation to a wedding this morning from one of my previous co-workers in India. I know that weddings in India are very big celebrations and many of them usually have thousands of guests. They actually make my wedding and the ones here in the US seem like very tame celebrations! This wasn’t the first invitation I’ve gotten from one of my Indian friends. It made me realize though that it took a lot of effort to get to this point.

When I first got out of my leadership rotational program at Nielsen, I still had just raw talent. I had the skills and techniques down that would get me to be successful but I didn’t really have the exposure to the global level yet that would help me really develop my communication skills. I will say that first 6 months or so after the program I struggled. I got more responsibilities and it really centered around getting our program delivered. It also involved talking a lot with our team in India and I just did not understand how they worked.

At many points during that time I thought to myself, man these guys just don’t know how to work. They don’t really communicate and give you what’s really going on. They tend to promise something and then not deliver. They aren’t being very responsive to me at all. It’s the most frustrating thing to experience as a project manager because the struggle is real and the pressure you feel from your boss is real. I struggled day in and day out because even the accents were really tough to decipher sometimes.

But slowly I started to realize that instead of being in the mindset of asking why they do the things they do, I started to focus on how they do the things that they do. There’s just a totally different mindset in their culture in how they approach their work. I find that a lot of the team does better if you give them more specific instructions on what to do. It’s not that they are dumb or stupid in any regard. In fact I’m sure that many of them are quite smarter than I am and their technical expertise just amazes me. They do require a more concrete plan though in order to achieve an objective. It actually helps me too in order to make sure I am covering everything.

I started to work more of their hours to be more available for problems that might arise. This one was a tough one because it meant waking up at all odd hours of the day. There was a period of time when I actually was up at 2am on Fridays and just worked into the early afternoon just so I can shift my schedule around for deployments. I think showing that dedication for working helped people to see that I genuinely cared and I was there to help them out. I wasn’t just that person that worked only US hours and called the shots from there.

I also got the chance to visit Chennai about four times in the span of two years. It was so much easier to connect with people when you saw them face to face. It was also another chance to show just how much you were invested in the project as well because I tended to pull 90+ hour weeks while over there.

I think the final way that I really started to understand the team is by getting to know them. By really caring about what they are saying and getting to know how their families are and what they dreamed of doing, I think it really helped to develop the relationship. Even sharing my experiences helps in that regard as well.

So circling back to the invitation I got today, I think it really is a sign of what you can really accomplish even if you don’t understand a person at first. Make a real effort to know who they are, what they want to do and how they think of life. This isn’t just applicable to your coworkers but to everyone else you know. Let down your prejudices and barriers and start to really feel what the other person feels. Try to listen and hear their struggles and understand how that may affect their life decisions. It’s hard enough going through this world with your own struggles. We don’t need to add communication problems with other people on that list!

blogentry_michael

Am I Making a Difference?

blogentry_michaelI think that one of the things that a lot of 20 and 30 something year olds suffer from are regrets and doubts that they are making a difference in the world. I don’t think it’s just me that thinks this but I had dreams of changing the world. They were grand dreams which included being able to build great websites and change people’s minds just by what I write. I would affect thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of people and I would make my place in the world that way.

Has it turned out that way? Sort of. Let me explain.

My grand dreams of accomplishing change on a great level or even a global level hasn’t really panned out that way. On a day to day basis my priorities remain to my great and loving wife and to my crazy but really loyal pup and of course to family, friends and work. It’s a life that many people have on a day to day basis and it’s not something to take that lightly. Working brings in the money that allows you to support your family. Sure it might not be something so grand, but it is something that makes a difference. Sometimes I forget this but as soon as I’m able to reflect a bit and think about things, I remember that every single day I make a difference.

I make a difference to my wife, KristaRose. I’m her rock and I’m there to make her laugh. I’m there to make sure she has all her medications. I’m there to have adventures with and to be crazy enough to just walk around a supermarket at 1AM. I’m there to love her and to hold her when things aren’t going too well. I’m there to make her a better person just as she’s here to make me a better person.

I make a difference to my puppy, Twix. If you think about it, dogs don’t have a lot to look forward to (in our eyes at least). They require attention from us and if you are willing to work on it and give your dog lots of love, you will have the most loyal pet in the world. Even if Twix is a little mischievous at times, he is still a great dog that will always come up to you and just wag his tail. He will be that dog that is so friendly to other people and pets that he literally gets disappointed and whines when he can’t greet someone. I’m there everyday for this dog to make sure he has food, water and his daily walks.

I make a difference to family and friends. I know that everyday even though I don’t have a high profile job and I don’t make the big bucks my family loves me and supports me. I feel it everyday in a text or posts on Facebook. I feel it in phone calls or letters. I feel it because there is something that makes me feel comforted every day that we have people watching over us.

I make a difference to the people at work. I know that sometimes work isn’t the most fun thing in life but I try to make everyday a better experience for the people I work with. It starts with being thankful for everything that is being done for me. It’s extended through all of the work that I do and how it helps others and it makes our whole team look good (I’ve had several great mini-projects that have been seen by senior leadership lately with great remarks).

And I think most of all I just make a difference everyday to strangers. Whether it’s opening a door for someone or offering to pay for items for someone in need or letting someone turn first on the road. Small things that you do every single day confirm the fact that I make a difference in this life.

So what does that mean for you? I think that everyday we get bogged down in life. Whether it’s work or other issues you may have in life, they just make us lose perspective everyday. Everyone has dreams that they want to achieve and many people want to make a difference. I just want everyone to know that in your own life, you are making a difference every single day. Even if you do one small thing, you’ve just made a difference. Build on this. Keep recognizing things that you do and keep doing them. Make it automatic in your life and keep trying to work towards your dreams. Always remember though, even if you aren’t achieving your big dreams now, you are making a difference and that’s always a step in the right direction.

blogentry_michael

In Diapers We Trust

blogentry_michaelAbout a couple of weeks ago I was in Meijer and was shopping around for some pots. I’ve started to get a green thumb and am starting to build a small little garden that we’re growing indoors with a grow light. Anyway, that’s probably a post for another time. While I was shopping in the floral department I turned around towards the self checkout line because I heard someone visibly crying. There was a lady that was in the process of checking out. It had looked like she was able to get some basic groceries but her card was declined for the last item. She had started crying and proceeded to ask the cashier to take a box of diapers off of the order. For myself personally, I hate the feeling of not having enough money at the cash register. There was a point in time when I was in the same spot and I was struggling to have enough money to even just get meals for the week. So being the person that I am, I approached the lady and quietly took the diapers and asked her if I could cover it for her. The expression of gratitude the lady had was an image that you could remember for some time. How blessed am I at this point in life to be able to help others like this? It was a gentle reminder of how we are supposed to be kind and help each other out in the world.

How many other situations like this happen on a daily basis? How many people are struggling to make ends meet? How many times have we passed up an opportunity to help someone? How many homeless individuals have we neglected to even glance at? I hope that today you take a moment to really let that sink in and look for those opportunities and embrace them. Even if you don’t have a lot, always remember that someone else has it worse and even a small gesture of kindness can go a long way.

blogentry_michael

Giving Up

blogentry_michaelEvery year, we are given the opportunity through the Lenten season to give up something in order to grow closer to Jesus Christ and understand what he gave up for us. Growing up, it was always something very food related that was suggested we give up. Many suggestions of candy or sodas were thrown out there. Sometimes a suggestion of abstaining from red meat for the whole duration of Lent was put forth. As a kid, I sort of understood why we would do that but I don’t think it really sank in. I mean how can you really understand the deep meaning of why we do what we do during the Lenten season.

Fast forward to the past few years and there’s a very different perspective that I now have. For the past few years instead of focusing on something that is food related or depriving myself in that regard I have focused on trying to get rid of an undesirable aspect of myself. Last year I tried to refrain from getting angry. This year, my focus is to stop being impatient.

The reason why I chose to sacrifice my impatience is because even though most people would regard me as a patient person, I am critical of myself in that area. I think Krista sees it all the time because I have this really bad habit of getting impatient when I’m driving. I see a lot of people on the street cutting me off or really doing some puzzling things on the road. I actually think South Bend is about the worst place I’ve seen drivers but I’m open to hearing other people’s arguments about their own cities. In any case, I have had times where I really get impatient and have made comments to myself about it. When you look at it though, what does that really get you? Higher blood pressure? Some egotistical satisfaction that you’re better than the other person because you can drive better than they can? It really nets you nothing at all and this is one aspect I want to work on.

Another big reason why I wanted to focus on this is because even with KristaRose being sick sometimes I can still be impatient. I can tell you that it is very hard sometimes to take care of her. There are moments where she is in pain and you just quite don’t know what to do. Sometimes I have difficulty understanding what she needs because the pain would be in her neck or shoulders or even her mouth and I literally can’t understand her. Sometimes she needs to be repositioned on the bed and I can’t interpret how she wants to be moved because she literally can’t move any part of her body to indicate how she wants to be moved. It is in those situations that I want to be better. I want to make sure that I am always ready to spend up to 30 minutes or more to understand exactly what she needs. I want to make sure I do a better job at interpreting. Granted I think I do a pretty good job right now but as I said before I can always improve.

After attending Ash Wednesday mass yesterday, Father Rocca told us that we should be focusing on one thing this Lenten season. Too often we try to focus on so many different improvements or sacrifices that we lose sight of why we are doing this. We should be focusing on one aspect of almsgiving. We should focus on one aspect of prayer. We should focus on one aspect of fasting. I think this is a great message and a good way to really focus on your relationship with Christ. But this is something we should continually do every single day of every single year. We should always be focused on doing good and making this world a better place. We should strive to work on a bad aspect of our lives so that we can be closer to Christ. We should focus on prayer in our unique way whether that is meditating for sometime during the day or saying the same prayer when you wake up or before you go to bed.

So for this year, even if you aren’t Catholic or Christian, it would be good to really take a look at your life and see what is the one thing that you can give up that would make you a better person. You should take a look every month and try to work on that. Certainly if everyone could do that, this world would be a better place.

blogentry_michael

How do you beat an invisible disease?

blogentry_michaelI first off want to start this blog post with a disclaimer that I’m not looking for any sympathy from anyone. I merely ask that you keep an open mind and perhaps start to understand a group of people that have difficulties that aren’t visible. 

Back in 2012 when Krista was first diagnosed with Lupus, I had no idea what that meant. Lupus is a disease that is still not very well understood. There is no exact reason why the disease occurs. There is no complete evidence that it occurs because of genetics. It is widely believed this could be the reason but we don’t know for sure. We also don’t know what Lupus will eventually affect. There are a number of different body parts that could be affected. Some get what are called butterfly rashes on the their face. Some experience swelling of their hands or feet. Some have their body organs affected. No, back in 2012 when we initially heard the news, we had no idea what we were in for.

It may sound a bit odd but Krista had been blessed up to this point of being sick in the past. She had the experiences necessary that would help her to better combat the diseases of the present. I won’t go into a lot of detail but a lot of the things she had to deal with could be at least mildly controlled. I won’t say completely controlled but she got into a stable enough routine where she could really live her life and be the person she wanted to be. What we started learning with the Lupus was that this disease starts to really affect you and disrupt any routine you may have. The problem with Lupus is that you never know when a flare will occur. You can do your best to control the symptoms but there will be days where you just feel terrible. You don’t want to get up out of bed. You don’t want to eat very much. You suffer in pain and the only relief sometimes is a dose of steroids that can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

This is the problem of an invisible disease. You don’t know when it strikes. Therefore, you can’t plan very well for it. Yes, you can stay on top of everything. You can make sure you take all of your medications at the right time. You can document how you feel on a daily basis.

Later in 2012 and going into 2013 we would learn that Krista had other illnesses that were related to autoimmune disorders.

Fibromyalgia.

Chrohn’s Disease and Colitis.

All of these in addition to the already reoccuring effects of Lupus and other pre-existing conditions. Let me tell you from a husband and a caregiver point of view it’s tough. But I’m going to try to vocalize just how tough it is to see what I see every single day.

  • It is tough to manage all of her medications and make sure she has everything she needs. I can barely take a few pills on my own, let alone big pills like some of the ones that she has.
  • It is tough to see her mobility restricted and having to roll her in a wheelchair on certain days. I’m truly blessed that I can still walk everywhere on most days. Boo hoo to my sometimes aching knee. She is subjected to my terrible wheelchair driving skills (by the way I’m sorry Krista that I’m still not the best driver, I’m still learning) and not being able to see items she wants to without my help.
  • It is tough to see her at night, crying, and wincing in pain and not being able to do anything about it. The best I can do some nights is to try to massage her pain areas and just be there with her but I know some nights that’s just not enough.
  • It is tough losing nights of sleep either making sure she is well taken care of or making up for the day’s work because I had to take her to appointments. It’s not something I regret in the slightest and in fact, it is a great blessing to have that flexibility.
  • It is tough to see her sleeping in the middle of the day, sometimes in the afternoon and asking myself, did we push it too hard the previous day? Is she trying to regain energy? Should I keep trying to push her a bit more so that she can at least enjoy being out and not inside the house?
  • It is tough to see how some of the people that Krista really care about don’t really make an effort to see how she’s doing periodically. I know it’s not a great thing to expect this from people but it really is tough and saddens me when days go by that there aren’t any communications about how she is doing except from family who we are extremely thankful for.
  • It is tough to see people actively looking and judging us each time we park in a handicapped spot. There’s an automatic stigma that if you’re young you don’t deserve a spot and you should give it to others who need it. The tag we have, it’s to eliminate those times where it took 20 minutes to cross a street because she couldn’t move her legs and the only way we could is by taking the smallest of steps and praying a car wouldn’t come by. Or it’s the time when there was 6″ of snow and I took out the wheelchair just to push her to the curb and out of harms way. That’s why we need the spot.

And I think the toughest thing on my part is just the feeling of helplessness. What can I really do? Be her rock? Sure, I will do that until the day I die. Take charge of everything around the house and make it easier for her? Done and not a problem. But at the end of the day, none of that beats back the illnesses.

So how do you beat an invisible disease?

You beat it with love. I am 100% sure that our unending love for each other will beat this disease. It’s in the little things like surprises at work for no reason at all. Love letters on Valentine’s Day instead of expensive gifts. Starting each day (whenever it may be) with a kiss. It’s in doing everything you possibly can in a day in order to make things better and brighten the day.

You beat it with family and friends. There is no greater power than the love of family and friends. Family has been nothing but supportive throughout this whole process. Mom and Dad have done so much. Manong RJ, Manang Rachel, Manong Rob, all of our family in Chicago, DC, the Philippines, Texas. Everyone has been 110% supportive with prayers, love, thoughts, advice, letters, emails, phone calls, texts, mass dedications. I couldn’t ask for more support but I continually get surprised every day.

You beat it with smiles. One of the things that made me fall in love with KristaRose was her smiles. She has these smiles that will just make everything just seem better. They literally light up the room. I know that sounds so corny but so what, it is true. I live for those smiles and it’s my job to make sure she has as many of them as possible. Each one seems like an extra punch to the illnesses to weaken their grip on her.

You beat it with great doctors. Having doctors you know and trust make a world of difference. If you come into contact with doctors that truly care about you and actively want to see how you are doing and will do anything and everything to explain situations to you and make you aware of your options and don’t force you into any decisions, keep them.

Most of all, you beat it with God. He has a divine plan for each and everyone of us. We don’t know for sure why Krista is sick and why she must go through this. Maybe it’s to show her how beautiful life is. Or maybe it’s to show everyone she loves how beautiful life is. Whatever the purpose, at the end of the day all we can do is leave it in his hands. That’s what we do everyday. We pray in the morning and in the evening. They aren’t complex prayers but they are intimate and help us in our way to connect with God. The moment when you lose sight of God is when the illness starts winning.

Again, I wanted to reiterate I wrote this blog post not in getting any sympathy from anyone but rather to show everyone how an invisible disease might look. It is tough to deal with and trust me every day is a challenge. But there are ways to beat it. Knowing KristaRose, she will beat it.

Sincerely,
The Lermz

Life’s Inspirations: Why Happiness Matters.

blogentry_michaelIf you think you can go through life without happiness, I think you are in for a rude surprise. It’s sometimes hard to grasp just how much happiness can really change our environment. I think we have to remember that every person can sense what kind of mood or attitude you have for the day and are consequently affected by it. If we are able to change our state of mind and have a constant flow of positive energy and legitimate happiness, we have a chance to really make a difference in the world.

I’ve found that happiness is not something that is easy to achieve. It is easily lost by the many distractions that life throws at you. It can be taken away by sudden events. It can be broken down day after day by an abusive source. If you let these distractions take a hold of you there’s no way that you can even have a good day.

For a long time I thought I had happiness. I thought I had a pretty positive attitude. I went through life and I had a smile on my face the majority of the time. Then came life. Once you go through deaths in the family and start having to pay for bills and loans and start worrying about so many things in life, you start to get overwhelmed. You start to feel like there’s nothing you can do and things are just going to fall apart. Once you have this mindset then you start not wanting to do anything at all. You start questioning what’s the use of doing your daily routine. Maybe you start asking yourself why would I want to surround myself with other people that are happy? They will just make me feel more miserable. Then it can start affecting work. You could start to feel that what you contribute to your team is not even worthwhile. Sometimes a single argument can be taken too personally and just drag your entire day down.

I think I went through some of this in the past few years. There was just so many things that held me prisoner. It did not help that the love of my life was thousands of miles away and it was hard to align our schedules sometimes. It didn’t help that I didn’t have too many friends where I lived (the friends that I did have around were awesome though and are my groomsmen now :D). I tended to only focus on the negatives and for that I think I suffered pretty badly.

It’s always hard to really understand another person’s problems and how badly they are going through it. But I think any person that is trapped and not feeling happy about where they are is pretty much in the same boat. Sure the problems might be different or it might be on a slightly different scale, but the fundamental problem is still there: You are not happy and it is affecting your life.

I think the big realization for me and the turning point was when KristaRose told me that it seemed that I had changed. It seemed like I did not smile anymore and she did not know what to do to make me happy.

That was a hard thing for me to swallow because here was the love of my life and I was making her sad because I was not happy. It was a great lesson to learn because how you are feeling really does affect others.

So I decided to make a change. I created this website in the hopes of it changing my thinking around. It did… sort of. My intentions were always good in creating this site but it doesn’t provide enough of what I needed to turn my thinking around. Posting my thoughts and posting motivational stories is good and therapeutic and definitely helps others but it doesn’t really attack my problem. What I needed to do was shift my mentality completely. Everytime something bad happened, I needed to remember a few things:

1. Whatever just happened was meant to happen.
2. What can I learn from what just happened?
3. God did not put something in my path that I could not handle.
4. Don’t ask or hope the obstacle is removed, pray for the strength and courage to tackle it head on.

Whenever I think of these things, my mind automatically shifts from negative thoughts to positives ones. I start to think of the possibilities of what just happened. What can I learn? Can I teach others to not make that mistake? There’s also that great mystery of asking God why it happened. We can speculate all the time and think we logically know. But in the end we really don’t but that’s what makes it so great. Life is just full of surprising things and something bad may eventually turn into something good and that might be what God intends.

So really I think I can thank KristaRose for making me realize why happiness matters. It affects everyone around you. For me, the most important thing is that it affects her. I have noticed that with her illnesses when they first started we were both filled with fear and anxiety. We didn’t know what was going on and so both of us really weren’t too happy most of the time. However, the more I thought about it and prayed about it the more I understood that maybe this is our battle we just have to go through. It has been put here and we just need to keep praying for the strength to tackle it. There’s no wishing it will go away. In my opinion, the strength I need is in my smile. It’s in the small little things that I do for her. It’s in the random dancing I do in stores that play 80’s and 90’s music. It’s in the way that I can endlessly rhyme lines to the point where I’m told to just shut up. It’s in the way that I can look at her and just be in awe of how she has all of this going on and yet still gives 110% in her life to everything she does.

This is what happiness is. This is why it matters to me.

A New Lifestyle Change

blogentry_michaelWith the wedding quickly approaching, it’s hard not to think about the big day and how everything is going to look. One of the things I’ve known I needed to work on is how much I weigh and how fit I am before the big day. I think almost everyone that gets married will say at some point, “Hey I need to lose some weight”. I’ve finally decided to take this plunge and it all started from a friendly challenge between my groomsmen and bridesmaids.

Starting from about a week ago and going through the rest of the days until the wedding, the whole bridal party is in a stepping war with the prize being a cake in the face for the leader of the losing team (in other words if my groomsmen have the most steps then KristaRose gets the cake in her face). So far it has been a success and our teams are off to a fairly fast start. I think this friendly competition is great for all of us. It gets us more active in our lives and it will also help us maybe slim down a few pounds. I myself have started by setting a goal of 10k steps a day. That’s about 4 miles a day. I want to steadily increase this everyday.

However, this isn’t just something that for the wedding. I want this to be a lifestyle change. I know that my job requires me to be on calls a good amount of the time but that does not mean I can’t be active. On some calls that I don’t have to talk too much, I find myself being able to just stroll around or run in place for a bit. On breaks of time where I don’t have meetings I can walk/jog around the house. There’s of course Twix who is always up for a walk at any point in the day. The more active I can be, the better it is in general.

I think it is with this approach that I am trying to make a lifestyle change. It’s not going to be an easy one to do because it’s so easy to fall into that trap of getting sucked into work and not being active at all and making up excuses. However, this is the time to rise above that. It’s a time to do something better for myself. I may not be in the shape I once was before but it does not mean I can’t get there. Wish me luck on this journey. It will be a tough one but I think I can pull through with the help of my friends. I encourage anyone else that wants to join me to please comment and tell me what your fitness plan is. I might open up a section on the blog just devoted to fitness and showing my progress. If anyone else wants to show their progress along with me, please feel free to contact me!

Sincerely,
The Lermz

Are you making your life worth living?

blogentry_michaelHopes and dreams. Our life is full of them. At different stages of our lives we decide we want to do a particular activity or achieve a lofty goal. The problem is that many times in life we feel that we are inadequate and that we fall short of what we want to achieve. Take every new year’s for example. The tradition is to create resolutions for the year that will inspire us to be a better person for the rest of the year. How many times do we create a goal that is pretty hard to achieve (at least for our own selves) and end up quitting on it a few months into the year? These goals are often influenced by what happens in life. We set goals and then lose focus because of big life events. I think I’ve set many a goal to have it fall flat within the first month. Upon thinking about resolutions and hopes and dreams I’ve decided that I really shouldn’t just set goals at the beginning of a year, I should be setting achievable goals every day to ensure that I make my life one worth living.

It’s hard to make a decent living in life and make enough money to support your family while trying to pursue your goals. However, it’s the very thing that we need to strive to do. If we aren’t happy with our lives it starts to drain us in many ways whether it’s with family, friends, or even your own health. It was a realization that I had a couple of years ago but I have just recently made a big effort to correct. I have always been a hard worker. I know the importance of education and having a job that pays you well. That was my focus for awhile because that’s what you have to do sometimes. If you build a great foundation first, it will pay great dividends in the end. However, as the years passed something still was missing. KristaRose was the first to point it out that I really wasn’t that happy.. that I wasn’t really living my life and letting life control me. It was something that was hard to admit or to even realize. I mean when you hit a point where you’re not happy, it’s just not a pleasant thing. I knew from them I had lost myself a bit.

I had lost the ability to laugh and to joke around consistently. I had eaten out almost everyday. I did the same routine day after day: wake up, walk Twix, get ready for work, work, eat lunch at my desk while I kept working, come home late from work, call KristaRose and see how she was doing, play around a bit with Twix, play some videogames, sleep and then start all over. This routine was not that satisfying because it was the same thing day after day. There was no variety. I didn’t feel like I was really living.

It all started to change when KristaRose got a job at Notre Dame. Because my job was flexible I was able to move and follow her to South Bend. We were lucky to always get apartments that were not far from each other. Life started to slowly get better. Being in the same location as your significant other makes a world of difference than talking on the phone everyday. You’re able to go on dates. You’re able to walk around the mall. You’re able to have videogame marathons until 5 in the morning. Trust me, the process took time and even with the move it was slow.

About a year ago, my job I again started to work long hours as I got sucked into everything that was out there. I was turning in 60-70 hour weeks consistently and with the work load that KristaRose had with her new job, it was difficult at times too. Life was better but was starting to go down the same road.

Then in May, KristaRose was diagnosed with what was the first of many different autoimmune diseases. It was a wake up call for both of us. I would even call it a bit of a blessing in disguise because from then on, I realized I needed to do better. I needed to take more time to make sure she got better. I needed to make sure we lived life as much as we can. It was something we needed in order to keep the fight alive. It was something that we needed to do with the sad news and the struggles that were to come.

I can’t say that I am completely there but I’ve made an active decision to make life happier. I think you can ask KristaRose, my smile has returned a lot more. I’ve gone back to my routine of randomly dancing in grocery stores (yes I am weird). I’m often rhyming to every statement that is made. As KristaRose puts it, she knows when I’m in a good mood when I’m doing these things. I think we’ve been able to figure out our schedules where I’ve scaled back on purpose in order to be there for her appointments and just to hang out with her. I’ve even had the ability to play videogames consistently to relax in the evenings (I’m working on trying not to play until 2AM though!). As I type right now, we have Susan visiting us from California and I was able to take vacation so that we can all chill. We’ve played videogames, eaten great food and have just enjoyed life. That is what it really is to live life. Enjoy the people you have and the things around you.

I can say at this moment that life is worth living. It’s full of exciting twists and turns. There are unexpected big events like medical conditions and job changes. But there are many smaller events that help add to the joys of life. Enjoy the times you can go to a restaurant with someone. Enjoy going bowling or mini golfing. Enjoy waking up and seeing snow outside your window. I think we all have to remember that while the big things like a job are important, there are other important priorities. Make sure you know what they are and take care of them. That will play a big part in making your life more fulfilling.

~The Lermz

I’m the Luckiest Guy on Earth

blogentry_michaelThese were words that a person that I regularly play with on Call of Duty told me. It took me awhile to fully grasp what he was telling me. This was a random person that I had met one day while playing Zombies mode and after just chatting for a bit and telling him a bit about myself he made that statement. I told Jose that I was 25, had a fiance and had a job as a project manager. Just from those simple items (which have no fear that’s about the extent that he knows about me and about the extent I’m willing to give while playing any online game) he claimed I had the perfect life and I was the luckiest guy on Earth.

He started talking to me about how it was amazing that at 25 I already had a job as a manager. It sounds bad but to me it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal when I first think about it. I went to a great school and I was expecting that I would have some success in life after graduating with a degree in Information Technology Management. However, what I sometimes forget is that I come from humble beginnings. My first job was a bagger at a grocery store. I worked long hours and didn’t get much pay. You would be required to work even in 100 degree temperatures or if it was raining outside. This was not the most desirable job but it got you something. Sometimes I think we all forget that many people have to hold down jobs like this. With the economy how it has been, it is harder than ever to hold down a job. Getting a job that you especially love and have a passion for is even more rare. How lucky am I to have a well paying job where it allows me to provide for my fiance, KristaRose and it pays the bills that we have ranging from medical bills to school loans to monthly utilities. It is just such a blessing to have that. I think his statement about me being a lucky guy really rings true. I could not have a good job and I could be struggling even more than I do now. I have to make sure I appreciate that every single day.

The second part of his statement was really towards having a fiance at a young age. Jose is only 15 but he was just amazed that I was already getting married at a young age. It really got me thinking because in this day and age, 25 is not really that young to get married. There are plenty of individuals that get married at 18. I think I am really blessed that I got the chance to know KristaRose for a long time and it all started when we became friends. We dated for more than 5 years before I popped the question. How blessed was I to find a best friend and then be able to marry her this coming July? This too makes me a truly lucky guy.

The more I thought about it, the more I remembered to be thankful for everything God has given me in life. I have a fairly inexpensive apartment, I live in a place that has four seasons (South Texas doesn’t), I have a great dog that is hyper all the time but has as much loving as its owners show it, I have enough for electronics that can entertain not only myself but guests and I have the gift of family and friends that will continually support KristaRose and me.

I think when you reflect and pray about it, you will come to the realization that you yourself are the luckiest person in the world. Think about everything that you have. Think about everything you interact with on a daily basis. Think about all of the people that think you on a daily basis. Think about the things that you are destined to achieve. Think about the things you have achieved so far in life. Think about all of these things and I think you might even consider yourself luckier than this luckiest guy on Earth.

~The Lermz