Goodbye 2014

As I’ve done many times in the past, I’ve decided to give 2014 a quick once over and reflect on some of the events that took place this past year that stood out to me. While this list is in no way exhaustive nor is it a complete recap of 2014, all of the things that caught my eye significantly impacted me in some way.

  • I became the parent of an adult child – Sarah turned 18 this year. I still contend that this is not even a remote possibility since she was just born like three years ago. Regardless, I was in no way ready to admit that I was old enough to be the parent of an adult child. I still believe that I am not that old. But I suppose you can’t argue with time.
  • My second kid tested out of school early – Rebekah decided she was done with school and took the CHSPE. By passing the exam she was able to forgo the second half of her senior year and will instead be enrolling in junior college come January 2015. To say that this kid is driven is to not even come close to describing her.
  • I established new friendships and strengthened old ones – In both my personal and my professional life I’ve been able to establish new relationships. Professionally, this year saw a number of my closest working relationships change because of job changes. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has been a negative thing. In fact, I am very happy for my former coworkers since they are now fulfilled in their careers. Personally, I’ve had the fortune to become much closer to some of my friends that, before this year, I was not as close to. Situations have changed, priorities have shifted and the stars aligned to allow me to develop some very close friendships this year. For that I will be forever grateful.
  • Dr. Seuss overtook my family – All five of my children were involved in Stage 1 Youth Theater’s summer production of Seussical. Sarah was the audition and rehearsal pianist, Rebekah was the stage manager (first time managing the stage!!!), Adriannah was the Cat in the Hat, Alaynah was Mrs. Mayor and Aaron was Mr. Mayor. This presentation single handedly took over my summer but it was so worth it to see all of my kids participate in a show together.
  • I became president of a baseball league – Aaron has played baseball the last two years as part of Centerville National Little League. This past year I was elected as President of the Board of Directors for the league. Not sure what I was thinking exactly by taking this position on, but for now it is a blast since I have an excellent supporting cast of amazing board members.
  • AJ became a football player, I became a coach – AJ decided he wanted to play football this year so we signed him up for Fremont Football. If that wasn’t enough of a committment, I decided to assist the team this year by coaching as well and by the beginning of the season I was the offensive coordinator. To say that I was overextended would be an understatement, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I believe Aaron did, too. He was the smallest player in our division (he was minimum league age for the division… by 32 days) so this year was more of a learning year for him. But by the end of the season I can honestly say that he developed his own player character and is setting himself up for some amazing things in future seasons. And if nothing else he will forever have this chip on his shoulder that should do well in protecting him for the rest of his life.
  • Racial tension became a nationally prominent thing again – The Michael Brown case happened this year. The Eric Garner case happened this year. The media happened this year and things got wildly out of control, to the point that people were protesting around the country, closing freeways, staging die-ins and ultimately targeting and murdering police officers. In my opinion the actions of the protestors were ridiculous and completely counterproductive to bringing positive attention to their cause. Regardless, many people jumped on the #HandsUpDontShoot and #ICantBreath bandwagons and still many others jumped on the loud protest bandwagon. The racial divide in this country was already pretty bad, but at the end of 2014 they are much worse, in my opinion.

So that’s a brief look back on 2014 for me. Like I said, there were A LOT of other things that came to pass this past year. Some that, when I look back on them, I cannot help but smile and others that, when I look back on them, I can’t help but feel sadness. Either way, what happened, happened, and I pray that I am a better man because of it. Likewise, I pray that your 2014 wasn’t something to be bitter over but was instead something to want to be better in spite of. And I also pray that your 2015 is bountiful, fruitful, abundant and positive.

I tip my glass you. Here’s to an amazing 2015.

Being thankful on Thanksgiving

After a very quiet few years on this blog I’ve felt compelled to write again. I go through times where writing isn’t even a faint blip on the radar of my life. I also go through times where writing is my escape, my way of looking beyond where I am into a place where perhaps I’d rather be. And then I go through time where I want to write but can’t muster up the words I need to convey the reason behind my desire to write. Regardless, today is one of those days where I feel the desire to write so I shall let the words flow.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that, to me, really shouldn’t be a single day in the year as much as it should be a lifestyle. In any given day I have an abundance of reasons to be thankful, as most everyone is, yet I don’t bring attention to either the reason or the thanks that I have for it. What makes a single day so special that suddenly all of the things that I have been thankful for all year long are now all of a sudden worthy of finally receiving those thanks? Seems to me that there is something wrong with that. Of course I am talking about myself here, so please don’t take these words to be some form of judgment cast upon you or any of that. I’m just trying to resolve some of the thoughts I have had the past weeks leading up to today. Thoughts like “If the people in your life you loved the most were gone tomorrow, would they know today how thankful you are for them?”. Or thoughts like “When you are called to do a task, as much as you don’t want to do the task, are you thankful that you are breathing, have strength, can walk and move freely, and are well able to perform the task?”

While some of us are thankful for the tangible “things” in our lives – iPods and cars and large TVs and big, comfy houses – I believe there are others that are thankful for the much smaller, and to many, more insignificant, of things. Things like a warm jacket on a cold night or a bite to eat that fills a painfully empty stomach or a visit from a child that hasn’t been seen for months. As I look on the abundance that I take for granted every day I feel like I am kinda missing the mark on Thanksgiving, like perhaps my focus is off or I am simply looking at the wrong things. While I am thankful that I have an awesome job I get to go to everyday, driving my newer model car to the office listening to the music on my iPhone along the way, there are people that are thankful today that they have shoes. Just shoes. Maybe not even newer shoes. Just shoes.

So on this day of giving thanks I hope that I can maintain perspective. Don’t get me wrong, please. I do NOT apologize for doing well for myself or my family. I am thankful that I have been blessed with a provider mentality and that I CAN provide nicely for my loved ones. No, the perspective I am hoping for stems beyond that, to the core of my family and, more importantly, to the core of my life. When I sit around the dinner table tonight I will definitely be thankful for the abundant supply of food and drink before me. But my greater thanks will be for the family that sits before me.

I will be thankful for my daughters and my son, who daily show me many reasons for being thankful. I will be thankful to their mother, who has shown me so much more than I could have ever expected about relationship, parenting, love, patience and diligence. And I will likewise be thankful to her family for opening their home to my family and for always being so welcoming and inviting.

I will also be thankful for my parents – God rest their souls – for raising me to be the man that I am today while I was still yet young. And I will be thankful for my brother and sister who, when my father and then later my mother went to be with God, took up the reigns without needing to be asked to see to it that I would one day become the man that I was destined to be.

I will be thankful for my many long standing friends that have shown me recently what true friendship is all about over the long haul. And I will be thankful for my new friends that have so filled my life with love and warmth in recent years.

I will be thankful for memories of Thanksgivings past, of times spent roughhousing with my cousins at nine o’clock in the evening in a muddy front yard and of times spent trying to get the kids ready to go to two different houses in four hours on a cold afternoon.

I will be thankful for the years to come, the days to come, in which more memories will be made, more time will be spent and more love will be shown. I will be thankful for the future as well as the present, and for the past that it may ever move me forward to better things.

Today, and every day, I will remember the reasons to give thanks and I will give thanks for them. Not because it is Thanksgiving. No, I will give thanks simply because I am thankful.

Bidding farewell to 2012

It seems to be a common thing for me, at New Years, to write a post about the year that is being put to rest and/or about the year that is about to be birthed by the changing of the clock at midnight. I’ve recently read posts I’ve written from the end of 2005, the beginning of 2008, the end of 2008, the end of 2009, the beginning of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and I have to say it is fascinating to look back on the last few years and see where the year end had brought me.

Tonight I am looking back over 2012 as I sit in my family room listening to my daughter Sarah play the piano. The rest of my family is in the living room watching TV, playing on their iPhones or fiddling with a 3DS. It is a relatively quiet night in the Gonzalez house, and it is a perfect night to reminisce.

There were some things that happened in our family in 2012. They weren’t necessarily earth shattering events, but they have had a definite impact on the landscape of the Gonzalez house and the Gonzalez family in general. Of course, there were many events that took place in 2012 that I could be talking about, but the following seemed to be the most prominent in my mind as I write

  • I got a new job – Starting in the second week of January I went to work for SugarCRM as a software engineer. This could very well be the single most significant job change I have ever made in my life simply because of how much I love the company I work for, the work that I do and the people that I do it with. I have never been so happy in my work as I have been the last year being a “Suga” and I am so looking forward to what 2013 has in store for me personally as well as for my company.
  • We added a new member to our family – In June of this year we brought home Molly, our little shitmaker/noisemaker/smilemaker of a dog. She has been a wonderful addition to our family – as much as I might not like to admit it – simply by the energy and love she brings to our household. She is an amazing playmate for Rico, she is a great little watchdog and she is full of excitement and adoration for everyone in the house. Our home is definitely warmer because of her.
  • We added some boys to our family – Yes, my oldest daughters were officially given the go ahead to call their close male friends “boyfriends”. Both Sarah and Rebekah developed very strong relationships with their significant others and both of these boys have found a place in our family. They are very respectful (and only slightly fearful of me – but it’s a healthy fear) and very courteous to both Sandi and I. They are fun to have around and, most importantly, know how to treat my daughters.
  • We took a trip to Oz – My three youngest kids each starred in two separate performances of The Wizard of Oz over the summer. This is the second summer they have performed in a kids theater production and this year they decided to participate in TWO productions that ran back to back weekends. In one production, AJ stole the show as the Cowardly Lion and in the other show, Adriannah did. All three kids performed their hearts out and had fun doing it, and in turn, I enjoyed working my tail off to make sure they had the summer of their lives in theater.
  • iGot bit by iPhones – Well, the kids did anyway. Adriannah earned enough money for her birthday this year to be able to buy herself her own iPhone, and with the upgrades available, Bekah got her upgraded iPhone as well. In all, we now have four iPhones in our household and as you can imagine, with the propensity for theatrics that this family possesses, it didn’t take long for videos and pictures to start creeping up highlighting just how creative the kids are, even with something as tiny as an iPhone camera. Sarah started her own YouTube channel and Adriannah began recording these amazing videos using an app called Video Star. You will be seeing some of those in the coming months I assure you.
  • I got a new car – I had to. It was time. My Vibe died on me for the last time and, although I did not want to do it, I bit the bullet and decided to pony up for a new ride. So in August I purchased a brand new Mazda3 Touring sedan and I gotta say, I kinda love that car. The gas mileage is insane, the look and feel is very nice and the kids fit in it when I take them to school. As much as I did not want to buy a new car, I am very happy with my car and with Tony Roberts and Dublin Mazda for making that deal one of the best transactions I’ve ever had, let alone for buying a car. If you are in the East Bay Area and are in need of a car and are looking for a smooth transaction, go talk to Tony Roberts at Ken Harvey’s Dublin Mazda. My experience was so good, I actually Yelped them. 🙂
  • Obama won the presidential election – Much like 2008 when Obama won the presidency, there was much talk of politics, policy and government in my house for a number of months leading up to Super Tuesday. As just as I was devastated in 2008 by his victory, so again was I disappointed in the choice our country made for president. However, what’s done is done and though there is still much talk about politics and governments – and just as much snark and whining from both of the major political parties and their followers – I am happy that the election once again brought about discussion within my family. Regardless of your political bent, when parents and children can come together to talk politics and, in some cases even debate politics, it is a good thing. I learned stuff about my kids I didn’t know. I learned some of their political viewpoints are divergent from mine (which I am totally fine with) and in some cases, they are more extreme in their views than I am. I learned that regardless of political viewpoint, friendships must necessarily extend beyond these viewpoints. And I learned that Facebook is a treasure trove of extremists from all walks of life that love to spew their political venom far and wide. Still, if there is nothing else that I will take away from this election, I can say that my kids were once again very informed, very involved and very interested in the election process and the election results.
  • Violence took it’s toll on the United States – While the most prominent incident of the year in the United Stated was the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there were undoubtedly many more killings in the United States. But one thing that the Sandy Hook incident seemed to do above anything else was bring attention to guns. My heart goes out to the kids and teachers that were senselessly gunned down by a disturbed idiot that was hellbent on killing innocent people. Equally, my heart goes out to the thousands of other victims of violence – both gun related and not gun related – because their story should be heard as well. As saddened as I am by the violence in our country, I am now ever vigilant of the safety of my household and my family. Being aware is the first step toward actively protecting a family in my opinion and with that, the knowledge that guns – even assault weapons – do not somehow spontaneously sprout an evil conscience and decide to start killing people. I’ve been appalled at the apparent lack of regard for the second amendment by many highly visible members of our state and federal governments and hope that, like the discussions that took place in our household after Sandy Hook, there will be a long, open discourse on the proper actions to take to curb violence in our country. And I pray to God it doesn’t involve rewriting our constitution to further the police state in which we live. Regardless, my family was brought together by the tragedies that unfolded over the course of the year, and many talks were had to discuss just what is at the root of all of this. So even in the midst of tragedy and evil, my family came together and was strengthened.

There were many other notable events of 2012, including a Mayan Apocalypse that never came to pass, the San Francisco 49ers almost making it to the Super Bowl while I was there to witness it and the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series for the second time in three years. There was a retirement of a space shuttle. There was Felix Baumgartner sky diving from outer space. There was the Grumpy Cat. There was the massive response to FunnyJunk’s and Charles Carreon’s lawsuit against Matthew Inman from the Oatmeal. There was just so much stuff in 2012.

Alas, it is time that I wrap it up, lest I go on and on about all that 2012 brought to the table. But as I leave you with this, my final post for 2012, I would like to reach back to 2009, when Sarah penned this little New Years poem and I’d like to offer up this simple blessing to you and yours: May your 2013 be orders of magnitude more amazing than your 2012 and may you be showered with favor, fortune, blessing and abundance. Happy New Year.

On the day of New Year’s Eve
The world is sitting, waiting
For the day we all believe
Has cause for celebrating.

Staying up till late at night
Watching on TV
Down pole to drop a ball of light
And then we scream, “Yippee!”

Another year is o’er and done
And we are satisfied
Recalling days of mirth and fun
And fear, and hope, and pride.

Another year has started up
A new age will begin
We drink from a newer cup
And cast the old to the wind.

— Sarah Gonzalez, 13

Be grateful in all things

I woke up this morning with a feeling of anxiety. This happens from time to time, but more recently it has happened more often. I’m not talking about clinical anxiety but more the anxiety that comes as a precursor to the culmination of a great journey coupled with major change in the usual surroundings of your life. Like when you’re getting ready to start a new job or when you’re entering into a new relationship.

But as I thought about all that could be causing me anxiety I began to realize that this feeling, this nervous energy that seems to overtake me, stems from the knowledge that where I am in life is simply not good enough. It’s because I want more – I need more – out of life that I seek a higher level.

I’d be the first to tell you that if you are not happy where you are go find your happiness. Seek out with all your might that which you so greatly desire and aggressively pursue it until you’ve acquired what you seek. You only have one life to live and you’re not getting any younger. So stop living your life wondering and wishing and start making the necessary moves to find that place in life you want to be. But today I’ve decided to change my attitude. Today I choose to be grateful.

As we enter into the last few days of Christmas and, realistically, the last few days of the year, I am reminded that there is so much for me to be thankful for in my life. I have a beautiful and amazing family. My children are all healthy, brilliant, creative, thriving children who have shown me this past year that they are tough as nails and soft as silk. I have a great relationship with them and they, with me. We live our lives together as harmoniously as a family can and we have shown over time that we are a tight knit family that is capable of withstanding the worst possible situations while still being able to celebrate the best ones.

I have a skillset that is heavily sought after and positions me to be able to take care of my children financially. It’s good to be a tech head in Silicon Valley at this particular time in history. I love what I do and because I’m in a rather niche market, I am actually pretty valuable. This is a good thing.

I have a wonderful home for my children that is warm, inviting, filled with the sounds of playful screams, craftily composed piano tunes and strong voices that are right on pitch. The creativity flows through my house in every aspect but none stronger than music. I am reminded every day just how blessed I am to be surrounded by such musically inclined kids.

The basic necessities of life are always at our disposal. We literally want for nothing. No, we don’t live a high roller lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination but very seldom do we have to tell ourselves “no”. All in all, life is pretty good.

So as the week winds down, and Christmas lists get poured over and things get bought and the “want meter” is showing elevated readings, I want to take a minute to slow down, consider what I really want the most and enjoy the last few days of this year with an attitude of gratitude. Yes, there is going to be an extraordinary amount of change coming very, very soon. I am preparing myself for the coming year because it will open with change right out of the gates. But for now, or at least the next couple of weeks, I will be thankful. I will choose to be happy with what I have and I will choose to enjoy my life exactly as it is.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Another thanksgiving is upon us. It seems in recent years that we are cycling through holidays at breakneck speed, never being able enjoy any one particular holiday because the next holiday is already up in stores or being advertised on the Internet. This saddens me, especially at thanksgiving time, since we often times neglect the spirit of giving thanks for the rush of acquiring more crap on the morning after.

Being thankful is something I’ve tried to teach my kids for a while now. It’s also something I’ve tried to live my life by as well, although I am nowhere near perfect at it so inevitably I overlook something I should be thankful for, usually in favor of being cranky about something else. This past 12 months it has been way easier to count my curses than it has been to count my blessings. But I’ve had a quiet last few weeks, time that I’ve been able to spend thinking about my life and the many blessings that surround me daily.

While the past year has been challenging, the blessings in my life have shown themselves to me clearly. Among these blessings are the tangibles and the intangibles, the valuable and the invaluable. Although I’m sure I’m forgetting many, it would be silly of me not to at least try to address the more prominent blessings in my life.

  • My kids – My children have been the greatest blessing to me and continue to be. Not a day goes by that I am not totally and completely amazed by them in some way. Whether it be their creative outward expressions or their tender, sincere, loving hearts toward me and their siblings, I’m reminded everyday of just how powerful a blessing my children are.
  • My family – My family has shown me this past year just what love is and to just what lengths they will go in order to care for me and my kids. When I say “my family” I am most definitely talking about my blood family (my brother, my sister, my cousins, my nieces and my nephews). But I am also talking about my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my sisters-in-law and my brothers-in-law. My entire family seemed to rally around my immediate family this year and even through the hardest of times have stayed by my side.
  • My friends – I’d like to think that everyone has friends. And although I have a crapload of friends on Facebook and Twitter, I can count the number of close friends I have on one hand. But this year my closest friends really showed themselves. They came out of the woodwork to encourage me, make me laugh and generally just have my back. I don’t know where I’d be on this thanksgiving if not for my friends reaching out to me, talking to me and listening to me. You know who you are. I just hope you know how thankful I am for you.
  • My possessions – I know that stuff is just stuff, but I count among my stuff the basic necessities of life: a house, a car, electricity, running water, etc. Yes, I also include toys and gadgets in my “stuff” (I mean who doesn’t love their phone) but being able to keep my kids warm, fed, clothed and sheltered is a tremendous blessing to me.
  • My skills – I love being a nerd. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it. What started out at a hobby for me has blossomed into a career. A well paying, lucrative career. I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with an inquisitive mind and a passion for learning, and that I can leverage that into a skill set that continues to provide for my children.
  • My health – I’ve worked hard to get myself healthy. I’ve worked hard to stay healthy. I’m blessed to say that I don’t need medication everyday just to live and that I can experience life with my children with energy, fervor and passion, never missing a thing with them because “daddy doesn’t feel like it today kids”.
  • My struggles – Anyone that knows me knows that I like to push myself to achieve things that I might not be able to achieve under normal circumstances. And most folks that know me know that I’m not one to get smacked on the chin without swinging back. This year has shown this more clearly than any other. The struggles came in droves this year, each one presenting a new challenge, a new problem that needed a new and different way to approach it. To say that this past year was trying would be minimizing what actually took place. Still, through each of the struggles came an equally rewarding victory and a promise of a brighter future. And for that I am immeasurably blessed.
  • My failures – If there was one thing I can say I am more blessed by this year than last year it would have to be my realization of my own imperfection and my coming to grips with many of my behaviors, attitudes and actions that have led to failure in many areas of my life. It’s been said that if you want to continue to get the same results of your actions simply keep doing the same thing. I realized this year that I did not want to keep getting the same results in life I’ve always gotten and that in order to change course I had to take a deep look within myself to identify those areas of myself that may have been preventing my own success. That has been painful to say the least, but it has also been an indescribable blessing in that for the first time in my life I’ve come face to face with many of my shortcomings and have been able to begin rectifying them. Change is good, even if it is uncomfortable.

There is so much more that I should be thankful for. But as I sit behind the keys staring at the emptiness of what will soon become the last few lines of this post, I’m reminded that I have a house full of kids that need their daddy’s attention and affection. And that is a blessing I can no longer pass up.

Happy thanksgiving. May this holiday season be a blessing to you and may it open you up to be a blessing to others.

Welcome 2011 and to you, 2010, a not so fond farewell

As I sit down, lazing about toward the end of this, the first day of 2011, I find myself recollecting the happenings of 2010 and thinking of what this fresh new year might bring. I wish I could say, as I recollect, that 2010 was a banner year for my family and I, but the truth is 2010 was riddled with struggle, hardship, challenges and battles. It was really a hard year. And while I know that many people share this sentiment, I am not really one to dwell too long on the negative.

So with that, I’d like to remember a few things that happened this past year that were utterly positive and totally worthy of being remembered fondly:

  • Sandi got a lot better
    After a very long battle with illness and other debilitating health issues, Sandi’s health started to improve dramatically this year. She’ll admit that she’s still not 100% better. But she would also concede that she is doing way better now than she was just a year ago. Thank God for that.
  • I lost a crapload of weight
    In March of 2010 I made a decision to stop being unhealthy and lose some weight. I had no idea what I was in store for, but I knew I couldn’t continue to live my life how I had been. For those of you that were following along, you know that between March and July I lost 60 pounds on the Insanity program. My life was completely transformed because of this. But more important than the weight loss was the lifestyle transformation that took place in me, the most awesome thing being that as of the last day of 2010 I had not gained back a single pound I had lost. Hells yes.
  • My family got bitten by the theater bug
    Sandi, Sarah, Rebekah and Adriannah all auditioned for, and were cast in, Cinderella, a Stage 1 Theatre production. This was the first of what would become a string of performances they would be involved in until the end of the year. It was challenging at times, but it was very liberating for Sandi and the girls so though the nights were long the expenses high and the toll great, over the long haul, it was a win.
  • Sarah started high school, AJ started kindergarten
    As of this year I no longer have babies. This makes me smile. Sarah started high school this year, which is huge for us because it totally exposes how freaking old I really am. Wait, what? Did I really say that? What I meant to say is that it is huge because Sarah is moving into a new phase of her life. And so is AJ, who is now school aged. That means more work for Sandi and I, more work for the older girls and fewer and fewer years until all of the kids are off to college.
  • I got a new job
    In September I had the fortune of running across a Craigslist add that caught my eye. It was a Thursday morning and, without really thinking too much about it, I sent my resume to the email address in the ad at about 11:00 AM. Less than an hour later I was on a phone interview with this company. The next day I was interviewing in person with the VP. After the interview I was tasked with working as a contractor for them on a trial basis so that we could mutually evaluate each other. I fell in love with the work and, as best I can tell, they liked what I did. After my trial was up I was offered a job with them that was too good to refuse and, at the end of October I made one of the bigger life changes I’ve made in a long time.

There were quite a few other things that happened this year that were blessings to me and my family. Many of those things can be gleaned from Sandi’s Facebook, where she has documented pretty well the happenings of our family for the past year or so. Or, if you know me personally, you’ve probably already been bombarded with all of the happenings in my life, both the good and the bad.

Regardless of the state of 2010, it is now entirely behind us and in the past. I’m really not into focusing on the past too much, so as of today, my eyes are set on 2011. I know that with any start to a year, change is bound to occur. However, I know that given the nature of the past few years, 2011 will necessarily have to carry with it severe, positive change if I am to expect to make it out alive or sane. I know things cannot continue the way they are, for the most part, if there is to be any thriving in the Gonzalez house.

So as I begin my journey into this new year, I’m preparing myself for significant change, adventure and excitement. And you know what? I’m way more thrilled about that than I have ever been before.

Happy new year. May your 2011 be the best year of your life and may you gracefully and peacefully release 2010 from your clutches, whether it was good or bad for you.

Happy Mother’s Day

I know a lot of us could easily insert our own name, title or profession into the statement “A ________’s work is never done”. But of all the titles this could apply to, none are more appropriate than that of mother.

A mother is constantly working, even when she isn’t awake. Mother’s seem to always have their children, their families and their homes on their minds and can often be seen drifting off into space sometimes when their minds start to tackle all of the things on a mother’s to-do list at the drop of a hat at any time of any day.

Mothers make sure the home functions properly, that the kids are healthy and tended to, that dad is taken care of, that homework is done, that dishes are clean, that dinner is made… the list can go on forever. Mothers also are the level head in sometimes turbulent families and can usually be seen moderating, with sensitivity and gentleness, the more complex issues of the family dynamic. They are the glue of a family and work tirelessly to keep things together and in order.

Mothers are often the budget managers of the home in addition to being the general manage of the home. And many mothers take on this role even though they are working full time to provide for their homes. In a world of dirty, thankless, tiring jobs, I’d say that being a mother ranks up there toward the top.

And because of that, I want to take a few seconds this morning to say thank you to all mothers everywhere, especially for the mother of our home, my wife Sandi. As often as you go overlooked, as often as your day ends without a thank you, as often as you are defied and as often as your patience is tested it is my wish that you are also reminded form time to time that without you the world would not work properly. Homes would fall apart. Families would struggle.

Mothers are the very core of a family, and because of you mom, yes, I’m talking to you, all families are made better each day. Thank you so very much for putting in the effort every day to be the best at your job that you can be and for making sure that life is livable for the rest of us.

Happy Resurrection Sunday 2010

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:6

Today is an international holiday for people of the Christian faith. It is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today is meaningful for so many reasons, but the most significant reason is that it gives the Christian the basis for our belief that, as part of our salvation, God the Father can literally allow us to die to our former disbelieving selves and be reborn into a new creation, one who can believe in the heart and declare with the mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died for our sins and was reborn as we must necessarily be.

For years I have taught my kids that today is not about rabbits, eggs, candy or baskets. While the holiday that most of us know as Easter has been historically wrapped up in all of these things – much like Christmas has become about gift giving and wrapping paper and trees and lights – I think it is important to know that for Christians, today is about one thing: the rebirth of our Lord after death and entombment.

Yes, the colorful aspects of today are fun. By all means, enjoy that time. Get your kids Easter baskets. Color some eggs together. Get fatted up on chocolate bunnies and Peeps. But if are a Christian, I would encourage you today to consider the sacrifice made on Calvary for you and I, and the subsequent victory ensured us by the happenings of today all those years ago.

He endured punishment of the worst kind so we wouldn’t have to. He died in the flesh so we could die to the flesh. And He rose so that we might, in Him, have victory even over death. Because of today, we have an open door to God the Father and eternity in heaven.

If you are a Christian, today is a big day for you and you should celebrate it as such. If you are not a Christian, enjoy the bunnies and eggs and the family time. Either way, enjoy your day today. Because regardless of your spiritual beliefs, if what the Bible says is really true – which I believe it is – Christ didn’t just die for me. He died for all of us. And He rose for all of us, too.

And that’s a wrap

I am forever blown away by the talents of my children. As we prepare to bid adieu to 2009, I’d like to share with you all something my daughter Sarah wrote. For the record, she is 13.

On the day of New Year’s Eve
The world is sitting, waiting
For the day we all believe
Has cause for celebrating.

Staying up till late at night
Watching on TV
Down pole to drop a ball of light
And then we scream, “Yippee!”

Another year is o’er and done
And we are satisfied
Recalling days of mirth and fun
And fear, and hope, and pride.

Another year has started up
A new age will begin
We drink from a newer cup
And cast the old to the wind.

May you find the cause to celebrate the ending of 2009 and the start of 2010. Happy new year from me and the rest of the Gonzalez family.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the entire Gonzalez family. As the end of 2009 approaches I hope you can look back and find the blessings in your life this past year. I also pray that you will be able to consider 2010 and what the new year holds for you.

I will be announcing shortly some changes to this web site and some of the projects that I have been working on recently. It will be sort of a refreshing of my online identity or, in more practical terms, a Christmas gift of a fresh outlook for me.

But that is for another post, at another time on a different day. Today, I am going to celebrate Christmas with my family. And I hope you do the same thing with yours.