31 Day Challenge – Day 4

So, as I’m writing this I’m actually using the app on my iPhone. I promised myself I would write something everyday, for the next 31 days, so here I am doing it at whatever means necessary.

Today, I realized the importance of collaborating to make an impact within a specific area of San Diego. I attend a church called The Flood, which meets at Kearny High School on Sunday’s. I help lead a small group on Tuesday evenings in North Park and today we planned out for the first few weeks of 2015. This evening, we welcomed two new team members to help lead/facilitate our small group. It was refreshing to hear vision, wisdom, and fresh ideas come from all my collaborating partners.

One thing that I feel that helps keep a good collaboration session on track and with no hard feelings is to have an agenda and ask good questions. When an agenda is present, it allows groups to stay focused and leave with actual results and answers.

Asking questions, and in a sincere/humble way, keeps guards down and let’s everyone voice their opinion. Meetings are hard when it’s one person talking or when someone has a bad/quiet attitude. I’ve always found that humor always finds a way to relieve tension and also keeps those around me relaxed.

At the end of our meeting today, we left with vision, plans, and encouragement. That’s what collaboration is all about!

So there, didn’t think I would write about that today but I did! Enjoy and go collaborate like Vanilla Ice!

31 Day Challenge – Day 3

Today was a special day for baseball fans, and if you know me then you know my appreciation for the sport. Major League Baseball introduced the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to pitchers Randy Johnson (the Big Unit), Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and second baseman Craig Biggio.

I remember when I got involved playing baseball in 1996 and seeing these players play live at Jack Murphy (Qualcomm) Stadium. I was amazed at how tall Randy Johnson was, and even scary looking with the long hair and rock music always playing in the background. I loved watching Pedro Martinez pitch, and I specifically remember seeing him in 1998 pitch against the Padres as he was no-hitting them. Unfortunately, the Padres were also shutting out the other team, so that game went into extra innings and no one ever knew that Pedro did throw a no-hitter for nine innings. John Smoltz was the number three pitcher for the Atlanta Braves (behind Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine), and what I remember from him was that he was dominating, but couldn’t get Padres right fielder, Tony Gywnn, out if his life depended on it. Lastly, was seeing Craig Biggio play second base for the Houston Astros. I would watch how dirty this guy would play, and by dirty I mean he literally had to have dirt all over his uniform before the game was over. Congratulations to these players that taught a younger me the importance of hard work and passion

As stated before, I’m challenged to write for 31 days so if you were expecting something inspirational then sorry. It’s inspirational to me :D

31 Day Challenge – Day 2

As I was leaving a class this evening, I was listening to a song entitled Surrender All (Give You Everything) by Chris Quilala. For some reason, as I listened to the song something just clicked. It was one of those “ah ha!” moments that I’m sure you’ve experienced. It was as if I could hear God tell me “chill out Chris, and leave it all up to me!” I haven’t felt that kind of release of anxiety or pressure in a long time.

For the last six years, there’s been a control that I’ve been experiencing in how I handle the people that I’ve let (or attempt to) in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’ve purposely have attempted to be a controlling person, rather I’ve invested so much time, money, and talents looking for the approval of people. I guess you can say that I’ve lost my identity, at times, in trying to be someone or something that I wasn’t created to be…and only to be approved by a certain person or group of people. For some reason, I’ve found my validation through the approval of all those surrounding my life. I’ve struggled to allow God to give me His approval. I can’t remember the last time I even thought and said (humbly) “Chris, great job with that!”

Tonight, it just clicked and the word “surrender” never sounded more beautiful. If you’re asking, “well what are you surrendering then Chris?” My answer would be, “your approval!” Does this mean that I’m going to do whatever the heck I want and not care about what wisdom is being offered by those who watch over me? Of course not, because I’m a learner and I’m thankful for the people that God has placed to watch over my spiritual life, my career in education, and my health. It’s their advice, modeling, and counsel that allow me to grow and become a better person.

For me to surrender all means that I’m concerned more about “how I live, why I live, and the manner in which I live.” Yes, that is a paraphrase from the late Stuart Scott. So hopefully, I’ve encouraged you to surrender whatever it is that keeps you from being you. Only you can answer that, and hopefully my transparency has allowed you to have some reflection. Here’s to living a surrendered free life!

31 Day Challenge!

So I’ve noticed that I haven’t written or shared my thoughts since last July. I’d like to change that! I was challenged today by a good friend of mine to blog for the next 31 days. I can’t promise that I’ll complete it, or that each post will be inspiring. What I will do is that each day I will write my thoughts and hopefully have some type of reflection.

Today, I woke up with the news that ESPN broadcaster, Stuart Scott, had passed away from his battle with cancer. I can remember watching the first Laker championships won with Kobe & Shaq on the network of ABC, then turning quickly to ESPN and watching Stuart Scott be the main man with the interviews. He was the big show and at every national championship sporting event doing the big interviews. However, what got me today was hearing Deion Sanders say (paraphrased) on the NFL Network “Man, if we can learn anything today from the passing of our friend Stuart Scott…that would have to be to let people know how we appreciate them while they can hear us. We can’t wait until they’re gone to have all these good things to say.”

I am challenged now to make sure that I can say what I need to say to the people that I have something good to say to. I hope you who are reading this can do the same thing. Appreciate those around your life and be share to say the good things when you can.

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Speaking & Listening Skills

It’s been a good year since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and type my thoughts out. Now that I’ve finished my first year of teaching, I’m planning on making time now to take several hours from my week to share my thoughts on life. There’s several reasons that prompt me to stay committed to writing. One, I am a teacher and always encouraging my students to write every day and share their thoughts. Two, writing is like exercising…the more you do it, the stronger and more efficient you become.

July signifies that we’re in the middle of the year, and we have about five more months before we see 2015. I took July 1st as a time to reflect and see where my life was this year and plan where I want to go for the remainder of 2014. I started off by praying, and in the middle of it got this crazy idea to start something new that I had never attempted to try. This challenge was to listen to the audio Bible for the remainder of this year (It’s something I can either sit down and have read to me, or listen to while driving).

As I entered this midway point of 2014 I came before God and said, “God, here is the list of things I need work in my life…” As I was naming the list I felt like I was not being heard. Then as I started to listen to the Word, all of a sudden certain themes of the Old Testament passages started to resonate within me. I felt God telling me, “Chris these are the things that I’ll be working in your life right now, hold on for this journey.”

I went through the ending of the book of 2 Kings, where gossip was evident. The passage the came to mind that shared the same concept comes from Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) which states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” After reading, I started to think how easy it is to get caught up the latest news of the people around us (thanks to social media…lol). I was challenged to reflect and ask myself, “What business do I have sharing with you someone else’s business?” As a Christian, we could even present gossip in prayer request format such as, “Help me pray for (insert name) they’re going through…” Gossip is a cancer to the soul, it is a toxin that destroys friendships, and it usually isn’t meant to edify those around us.

So how do we avoid it? Great question, and something that I’m still asking myself. The two responses that I would probably find myself saying would be the following: 

  • I honestly don’t feel comfortable talking about that person while they’re not here.”
  • Why don’t you talk to that person and explain to them how you really feel?

Some great resources that I’ve read (and will probably dive into again) come from John Townsend and Henry Cloud in their Boundaries series. They’re accredited Christian psychologist that know how to break down the barriers of passive aggressiveness and encourage readers to be assertive through the love of Christ. So if you do not like confrontation or people getting “all up in your business” then check them out.

The next theme that really spoke to me was the power of listening. This past year one of my basketball players represent our school site in the Chula Vista District speech contest. He opened his speech by stating, “There are two kinds of people in the world…the ones who walk into a party and say ‘here I am!’ And the others who walk into a party and say, ‘there you are!’” The opening to this particular speech was the first thing I thought of as I dove into the Word. I began thinking “how many times have I been in a conversation and had something quick to respond or ‘one up’ the story being shared with me?” I started to think, “What would Jesus do in this type of social setting?” Looking through biblegateway.com and searched the keyword “listen.” I found this verse that perfectly described Jesus in an interesting social situation. Here’s the verse:

  • After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” Luke 2:46 (ESV)

This particular verse is found in the story when Jesus was left behind by his parents and he spent a few days hanging out with the teachers of his day. The verbs that intrigued me were that Jesus was “sitting,” “listening,” and “asking.” Understand that Jesus is 12 years old. I couldn’t sit still for the life of me at 12, yet even listen or ask a good question (it was more like argue and ask annoying questions).

So what does this all mean? Basically for me this means that I want to only speak life and what is edifying to those in my household, my close friendships, my co-workers, and church family. Next, giving my undivided attention to those I engage in dialogue with. Not taking out my phone to check on text messages, the latest Instagram post, who tweeted, or whatever. I want to be fully engaged in the conversation through listening and asking good questions (I’ll probably write another blog on asking good questions, it’s something complex that I’m learning to teach young adolescents).

Be encouraged reader! I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect, but that’s the beauty of waking up daily to keep on learning and hustling in our everyday lives.

God Bless!

Chris

 

Finishing Strong

chrisgarcia03:

This is a blog that I wrote for USD! Follow them, and you’ll follow some of my updates!

Originally posted on SOLES Admissions and Outreach:

guatemala“Finish Strong!” This is what I keep telling myself over and over again. I need to finish strong, and keep looking forward to accomplishing this amazing opportunity of graduating with my Master’s degree by next July (although I get to somewhat party with walking in May…oh yeah). One of the factors that continues to motivate me to finish strong this semester is the thought that I’ll be in Guatemala for about two weeks in January with the School of Leadership at USD. First off, that’s the beauty of being part of the family of SOLES is that we get to travel with other departments. The opportunities to travel the world with SOLES would probably be one of the main reasons I would want to continue to be a grad student for a few more years.

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Now, let’s talk a little about how the Learning and Teaching aspect of being a…

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A Hunger for Creativity!

Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.Luke 16:8-9 (MSG)

I find this verse very relevant to my experience so far here in Nairobi, Kenya. As I tour around the city, I sense a hunger for spiritual things…yet very creative spiritual things. I was glad to hear that a majority of the people here are Christians. Yet, it is sad to see a country that is barely developed in the simple things such as a limit to clean water and stable road ways. As I was asking God to give me a verse, I was prompted to look for the word “creative.” Finding this verse I saw it fitting perfect for my first day here in Nairobi. People here are constantly on alert (especially when walking/crossing in front of cars nearly getting hit), spirituality is definitely at a high, and I can see that people here are doing what they must to survive.

Here’s what gets me the most…the potential for their creativity and what they could do with it to revolutionize this nation. So far that’s some of the questions I have for the students I’ll be interacting with the next few days, how is their creativity motivated? and how would they use their creativity to make a difference in their communities?

According to the book of Genesis we were made in the image of God. We have His characteristics engrained in us. One of those characteristics is creativity! We are a society that has come a long way in the last 200 years from Henry Ford and his Model T to Steve Jobs and his corporation of Apple. I mean, even someone put a bathrobe on backwards and developed the snuggie. Creativity is just something that is instilled in us naturally. So my question for myself, the students in Kenya, and for you would be…”Are you doing something with your creativity?

*The photo attached is me in front the world’s largest (concentrated in population) slum, Kibera that consists of 1 million people. Tomorrow I will be going with my University of San Diego team to observe another local slum area…I ask you for your prayers in health, communication, and more importantly establishing an encouragement!