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Christmas and a time of blessings December 19, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Personal Stuff, Reflections.
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The Medina BoysI think it’s just starting to catch up to me.  What a year it’s been.  I guess I could say that about last year as well.  Ever since coming home from Iraq, I’ve been on fire.  Unable to sit still and just do the minimum to get by.  Not realizing I was doing it, I went to a training course earlier this year where the instructor challenged us to “GO BIG!”  It seems, that’s what I’ve been doing the whole time.  Not being content with wasting a day that could be used to help others and help my family.

See, it’s a simple concept.  I help others, and by doing so, I’m helping my family.  I cannot help but feel blessed when this balance of service and gratitude has taken on a form that I consider to be bigger than life.  In other words, I get a real kick out of helping others, as it really warms my heart to know I used my God-given talents for helping others do positive things.  What can be more positive than buying a home, a piece of the American Dream?  Well, I help folks refinance their homes as well, where using cash from the equity can do some very amazing things for the families I help.

Last week I was able to help a client refinance her rental property, where she was able to use the cash to pay off non-tax deductible debt.  Her monthly cash flow increased, and she has cash left over for the Holidays.  But, aside from all that, the most important thing is… she is happy with the outcome.  She was also happy with the service I was able to provide.

I get so danged excited when I think about how much can be accomplished when we all work together.  I’ve seen this in the military and as a civilian.  When we all want to do our own thing and go off in different directions, nothing gets accomplished.  The minute we all rolll up our sleeves and focus our efforts on a common goal, we can move mountains.

Sometimes I get bummed out at traffic and crime and litter and all the things that are negative about humanity.  But then I get a glimpse of what we can do when we put our selfishness aside and truly assist one another.  It’s amazing.  It’s not subserviant, it’s not degrading, it’s the ultimate power.  The power to band together as people and make a difference.

I’m writing today about my blessings in life because I think it’s starting to sink in.  My boys won’t be with me this Christmas, as they’ll be visiting their mom out of state.  Although we were together last year, I happen to like it when we’re together any year.  I certainly miss them when they’re away, even though they deserve to be with their mom and have a strong relationship with her as well.

As hard as I try not to be selfish, when it comes to spending time with my kids, I’m guilty as charged.  I think God knows this, I really do.  No sooner than I was sulking for a moment, thinking about Christmas without my boys, when another friend who I’ve helped with her loan calls me.  Lenda and her husband bought a home last year, and they remembered me.  That is a true blessing.

The Henry’s are wonderful people, and I am glad to have them in my life.  We consider each other to be family, as it should be.  Lenda has even referred a friend of hers to my services, as she is not getting the best of service elsewhere.  I’m honored to provide such assistance in a situation like that.

So, as I start to get down, I just think of all the reasons I have to be encouraged.  We’ll celebrate Christmas with my boys when they get back on January 2nd.  We’ll just adjust to the situation.  But, how wonderful it is to have my past clients track me down just to say hi, and even to refer my services to very special people in their lives.

One last thought before I go.  A commercial for a company once showed the words, “The quickest way to get rich… Is to count your blessings.”  Today, that makes all the sense in the world.

May you always be blessed, and may you have comfort and joy this Holiday Season.

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I Think This Is Very Inspiring December 4, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Inspirations, Personal Stuff, Reflections.
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My future best man and groomsman and SGT Perez working on the tree 

Having served in Iraq fairly recently, I think this story deserves attention.  Ed Asner is kicking off a “Cards For Troops” campaign to help Americans remember our troops stationed overseas during the holidays.  You can read the story here.

I think it is very inspiring when someone does something so special for others, in most cases, for people they’ve never met. 

When I was in Iraq during Christmas of 2004, we received cards and care packages, and it was great to know we weren’t forgotten.  It was important at that time, as it was not the best of times. 

In fact, on Christmas day, our generator broke down, so we had no heat or lights the entire day; therefore we couldn’t write letters in the dark, or read or listen to music or even watch a movie.  Christmas day was one of two holidays where most of us were guaranteed a day off, and even then guard duty still had to happen as well as other essential duties.  And, if we were attacked, all bets were off.

It was about 35 degrees outside, and our sleeping quarters couldn’t have been more than 40 degrees, as insulation was not part of the package.  It was rainy, so mud was everywhere. At the chow hall, they really went all out to make it festive.  The dinner was delicious and officers served chow to the soldiers, and it was a nice time.  After dinner, my Platoon Leader and now best friend and I stood in line with water up to our ankles, sloshing in mud for two hours to be able to call home.

I’m not sharing this with you to make anyone feel bad, or even guilty.  I chose that life, and I chose to serve.  It just meant a lot when people showed they cared.  One country club south of Austin sent each soldier in our battalion (about 600 soldiers) a care package filled with goodies and books and shaving items.  Earlier this year, Brenda and I were married at the country club that sent us those items.  I saw a decoration on the wall of the offices there and noticed several names on cards on the decoration. They were soldiers from my unit!  I didn’t realize it until I saw that decoration that this was the country club that sent us our packages! 

That next week, I came back to the club events coordinator’s office to meet the girl that actually organized the package-sending effort with the country club members.  I shook her hand and thanked her for all she did. The cool thing was that the country club also featured me and Brenda in their marketing for events services on their website.  You can see that here.

Well, I surely didn’t mean to go on this long about how the holidays can be a rough time for Soldiers stationed overseas.  However, I hope that my personal story may inspire you to do something for the troops this year.  Even if it’s baking cookies for a National Guard unit or Reserve unit in your town or county.  Perhaps bringing hot soup to firefighters or police officers.  Have you noticed how cold crossing guards who protect our children can get?  How about some coffee or cocoa for them?  Just do something for someone who serves, please.

And, if I have any influence at all, please visit my National Charity Registry and register your favorite cause or charity. Thank you so much for reading and for doing something positive today.

Bono Speaks About Injustice November 20, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Inspirations, Personal Stuff, Reflections.
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I remember when I was 13 years old, and I was in junior high; it was 1982.  As I was getting ready for school one morning, I heard a song on the radio, and it blew me away.  As usual, the DJ didn’t back-announce the song, so I had to wait patiently until they played it again, so I could learn the name of the song. 

The name of the song was “New Years’ Day” by U2.  I hadn’t heard the song before, and I hadn’t heard of the band up to that time.  Then, that same week, on one of my favorite video shows, they played the video to “Gloria” by U2.  Was this the same band?  Well, they looked like high school aged rockers… where were they from?

As I began to reseach U2, their story became more interesting.  By the time I reached my senior year in high school, U2 was my favorite all time band for numerous reasons.  First, they were using music to make a statement, a statement of change, not one of violence.  Second, they were buddies, and they never argued, they always showed a united front.  Third, they knew they wanted to be an inspiration to others, so they set out to make a positive example for youth everywhere.

During my senior year in 1987, they were on the Joshua Tree tour in Los Angeles, where I lived, and I got to see them live.  For me, that was an oustanding achievement… first to be able to afford the tickets, second to see my favorite band LIVE!

Fast forward to today.  I am now 37 years old, and U2 has had many musical eras, ups and downs in the media, but something miraculous has happened.  Bono made a decision about 20 years ago to use his fame for helping others instead of only helping himself.  He has set about, and in my opinion, succeeded in changing the world’s perception of “rock-star fame” and aligned it with using his celebre’ to effect change in the world.

Bono has spoken at the UN, he has given talks around the world, he has met with world leaders both political and religious, and he has been tireless in his efforts to educate the world on the tragedies in Africa and what we can each do to help make positive change in the world.  Here is a video of a talk he gave in 2005.  He makes a profound statement.  He says, that he alone cannot change the world, and you or I alone can’t change anything. But by working together, we can change the world.

Last week, I set up an area where you can register your favorite charity.  This is a means to get the word out about the different causes and organizations that are there to help others in time of need.  Please visit my Charity Registry, and educate us on your most passionate cause. By taking a few minutes to let us know your cause exists, you can change the world.

Thank you for reading, and for doing something positive today.

Get Your Vote On November 7, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Personal Stuff.
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SGT Medina and LT Cockrell at the statue of Abu Nuwas

Regardless of your party, or views, there really is no good reason not to vote. During the Presidential election of 2004, I was in Iraq. My then-Lieutenant and now best friend, Devon, was our Platoon Leader. He made sure everyone had an opportunity to vote. He organized a briefing to inform soldiers in our unit on how to register to vote absentee, and then myself and a couple of other NCOs ran a table at the back of the room to help every soldier that wanted to register in their home state and county.

Devon was tireless in his effort, because it meant so much to him, and to be able to vote in Iraq was very American in it’s own right. Now, any time I hear about people giving reasons not to vote, I think of my buddy, Devon, who didn’t let 10,000 miles of distance stop any American from voting who wanted to.

That same year, the Iraqis had their first free elections in many decades, if ever. Our unit supported that effort directly by helping set up barriers and barricades as well as helping provide physical security for many of the voting stations. I will always be proud of the soldiers from my platoon who went there and helped give the Iraqis the power, the means, and the security to vote. I remember speaking with our platoon’s translator who had a purple finger, a sign that he voted. Mr. Karim was so happy he could vote. He couldn’t stop smiling and thanking me and my platoon-mates for making it possible for him to vote and have freedom.

At the voting stations, Iraqis that heard of the suicide bombers and thugs trying to intimidate voters into not taking part in the election were chanting, “We are not afraid!”

Remembering those things gets me a little choked up. Voting is a precious freedom we have as Americans. And like anything we are just given, we may not appreciate it as much as if we had to fight for it. Well, some have fought for it and some haven’t, but that doesn’t diminish it’s power or it’s preciousness.

Please do your civic duty and vote. There is too much at stake to leave your voice unheard. Thanks, Devon, thank you Equipment Platoon, and thank you for reading.

Me and the Wife November 7, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Personal Stuff.
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Me and Brenda

 Here’s me and my wife, Brenda. This was taken before we were married, while I was home on leave from Iraq, in June of 2004. We were in California visiting my three boys. I have to say, I’m very blessed to have three great children and a wonderful wife. I’ll post again with a picture of my boys.

Welcome! November 7, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Humorous Notes, Informative Articles and Free Reports, Inspirations, News and Information, Personal Stuff, Reflections.
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Hi and welcome to my journal. I couldn’t sleep tonight, so I was up at about 4am. I thought I would see what this “Blog” craze is all about, since I’m always looking for an outlet for my creative side. After seeing what a great way to share thoughts and ideas it was, I decided to start my own.

Over the years, I’ve found that I do like to write, and so this may very well be the outlet I’ve been looking for!

I hope you find my blog interesting, if not useful. If you have any comments, please post them. I can’t guarantee all of them will make it on here, but if your comments are positive and/or constructive, even critical but not in a mean way, I’ll be happy to put them on. There’s just no need for negativity on here, I feel. The world has enough of that already.

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog.