The Right Tools on the Path to Success

After my last melodramatic post, I feel relieved to be moving forward. One of the things that helps you to succeed in anything you do is having the right tools.

It’s apropos that I am writing this during the Christmas season. This is because of a memory of my first one as a married man.

Before I was married I did works with tools. I recall taking out the radiator out of my car and replacing it. Before that taking apart and assembling my bicycle on a regular basis. I also worked with wiring for my stereo and electrical connections. Outside these cases I was not involved in any major projects. That is unless you call a bongo board made in shop class in 8th grade a major project. In other words, I really did not have any tools of my own.

Interesting thought, I think back to all the gifts we received when we were married. I don’t recall getting a hammer, a screwdriver set or any tools for that matter. I just remember many kitchen goods and an overabundance of fancy glassware. I mean, was I real supposed to swoon over that I received expensive glass gifts of the brand Baccarat? If you ask me, a tool box loaded with all the essentials would have made a better gift.

This leads me to today’s story. We went out to get a Christmas tree for our apartment. I don’t recall if we had already bought the base or if we purchased it when we got the tree. Either way, we got the tree home somehow. Probably, used the Toyota Starlet since it was a hatchback. Upon getting home I learned that I had to give the tree a fresh cut or it would die quickly. I had never had a real tree before because I was allergic to them. I had no idea, now I was going to learn the hard way.

This is 1987, so the stores are not open after 6 PM for the most part. Tools are what I would need and I could not get a saw at 7-Eleven. I had to do the job with what I had. Guess what? It was not fun and it took me over an hour to do it with just a screwdriver and a steak knife. It apparently was later than 9 PM or surely, I would have gone to my brother’s house and borrowed tools. I was extremely unhappy with the situation but one thing I am not, is a quitter. I got it done and decided that would never happen to me again.

You are probably wondering by now why am I sharing this story? The reason is since I have invited you along on my journey to get healthy I have to point out that having the right tools is the right foot forward.

In October, I weighed 201.50 pounds. I know, a shocking admission. I was fed up and acted. I bought a stowaway treadmill for the apartment and a Bluetooth scale. I started tracking my exercise and food intake again. I joined Noom two weeks ago and got a new Fitbit Versa 2. These are not necessary, but the better the tools you have the easier it is to persist in the job at hand.

This morning I am proud to say, I weighed in at 192 pounds. My short-term goal is 185 pounds. I am a little over half way there. It is not going to be easy with Christmas, Vacation and New Year’s Eve in front of me, but I am determined and with my toolbox, I am certain that I will keep the weight off and hopefully lose some more.

I am a happy man today. I may not be at either my short or long-term goal yet. But I am getting there.

Is Christmas Day Anticlimactic?

Is Christmas Day Anticlimactic?

Every year Christmas day will come. For many the preparations are many. Such as decorating their homes inside and out, buying gifts for loved ones, and planning the events that come along with the holiday. Christmas parties at friends’ homes, parties with our companies of employment and thanking people for their kindnesses during the year.

But where does this holiday really come from? Oh yes, I know people understand that it is about the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger with humble beginnings. It is the date the Church marks to celebrate his birthday and start the new church calendar year. It is only just that the beginning of the church calendar should start on the date of acknowledgment of the founder’s birthday. Then it begins.

But why do we give gifts? Some look to the Three Wise Men who brought the infant child who would be King; gold, frankincense and myrrh. They recognize who he is and what it meant to the people of the world. They knew that nothing would be the same after the infant child would grow old enough to make known his true purpose. Even they with their worldly knowledge did not discern the true purpose. They did not realize that the world would change.

The gift giving tradition which was accredited to have begun over 1500 years ago by a Christian Bishop by the name of Nicholas in what is now known as modern day Turkey. The birthday of Christ was set to be celebrated at the same time the pagans celebrated the winter solstice. This is of no consequence as ST. Nicholas did this out of his Christi love for the poor and needy. Still the real meanings lies deeper I believe.

The gift giving to each other is a symbol of the gift that God gave us on this earth. The god-man that came down to live with us to teach us the truth of what real love is. The truth of that love is a sacrifice and concern for our neighbors while always remembering our own lives are also a gift from God himself. Jesus Christ taught us that if we are to love we must learn to do it even unto death. He killed the selfishness that existed in the world at the time. He raised the Jewish tradition of love and concern for family to include all men of the world as they were born by God’s will. Jesus was a Jew who changed the world knowing from the moment he entered it he would have to give His life to do it. The true gift he gave us was He and the light which His light which we need every day to live in joy on this world and in exultation with God in the next.


To answer my question; “is Christmas anticlimactic?” I pose to you that it cannot be. This is simply because it is only the beginning of our walk with Christ Jesus. We prepare for Christmas day by day sacrificing little bits and pieces of our lives for others, with prayer and good will. If we have done this when the day comes it is not anything like getting to the end of a show. Instead it is more like being at the gates to a beautiful paradise with hills and valleys that we know we will need to traverse over and over again until we achieve the true end of our work on earth. That is to create a peace and love on earth which knows no bounds.

Only one human being has been able to do this and it is His birth which we acknowledge during the twelve days of Christmas. But the gift we have given should not end on when Christmas ends but should continue for all 365 days of the year. However, there is no harm done in giving in a sign of the gift of love we all wish for and should try to grant everyone we meet.


Copyright 2015 Miguel Perez-Santalla