Running For A Cause: Miami Half Marathon

Yesterday, my brother, sister, and I participated in the Miami Half Marathon for the second year in a row. We wanted to run in an attempt to raise money and awareness for Misioneros Del Camino—a cause that is very important to us all. After months of training, the big day had finally arrived! And go figure, it just so happened to be the coldest day of the year here in South Florida (which we were very thankful for).

We woke up at 4:00 in the morning to get some last minute carbs and protein in for breakfast, and made our way over to the American Airlines Arena, where the race was set to begin at 6:00am. When we arrived, we walked over to our assigned corral, and were in the company of 25,000 runners from over 80 countries!

Running throughout South Beach, Downtown Miami, and Brickell was invigorating, and the sights were incredible! What I enjoyed most about the event was the amount of individuals on the sidelines and all throughout the streets who cheered us on. Complete strangers spent their entire morning motivating us to keep on running. It was absolutely beautiful, and it made the event even more memorable. And running alongside thousands of individuals from all over the world, and working together to reach a common goal by pushing one another forward was incredible. After 12 full weeks of training and 173.06 miles completed, we crossed the finish line and were finally ready to rest!

This experience was definitely one to remember, and seeing how many loved ones came together to help support our cause has left me speechless. We were able to raise over $2,700 these past few weeks, which will help provide four children special education and daily therapies for an entire year—all for free at Misioneros Del Camino! Thanks to everyone’s help, we have been able to positively affect the lives of numerous children, and we will be able to help give them hope for a brighter future; one which they deserve! I could not be any more grateful or appreciative, and for that, I thank you all.

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May This Be The Year

May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to grow
     Mentally,
          Spiritually,
               Emotionally.
May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to learn
     As much as we possibly can.
May this be the year in which we allow ourselves to love
     And be loved.
May this be the year in which we learn to forgive
     Others,
          And ourselves.
May this be the year in which we seek new adventures
     By putting ourselves out there more often.
May this be the year in which we follow our dreams
     And reach for the stars.
May this be the year in which we learn to surpass rejection
     And continue on our path to greatness.
May this be the year in which we share special moments with loved ones
     And cherish such memories for years to come.
May this be the year in which we learn to persist
     Bravely,
          Valiantly,
               And courageously.
May this be the year in which we learn to share our voices and listen to those who have yet to be heard
     By advocating,
          Caring,
               And helping our fellow human beings.
May this be the year in which we devote ourselves to a worthwhile cause
     And help those in need.
May this be the year in which we never forget to be thankful and appreciative
     Each and every day.
May this be the year in which we shine, and encourage others to do the same
     Brighter than ever before.

Happy New Year, and may it be blessed!

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Snapshot Challenge Saturday

At the beginning of the year, I set out to challenge myself each and every Saturday for the following fifty-two weeks. I wanted myself to take the time to find something beautiful, and as I did, I wanted to capture that particular moment which I was enjoying. Throughout the year, I have been following through with my Snapshot Challenge Saturday, and surprisingly enough, I haven’t missed a single week.

What I enjoyed most about this challenge is that it helped me remember to stop and appreciate my surroundings. Whether it was a beautiful tree in the backyard that I had never yet noticed, a breathtaking view from where I was standing, a stunning sunset, or an adorable moment between two animals, I have seen so many beautiful sights these past fifty-two weeks, and I am so glad to have ventured out on this worthwhile experience.

I will most definitely continue with this challenge throughout 2016 because in an age of technology and cell-phones, it is so easy to miss out on incredible moments taking place around us. I would rather immerse myself in the beauty around me as opposed to regretting not having done so at a later point in time.

And so, with this last Snapshot Challenge of 2015, there are many beautiful pictures which I could have chosen from to conclude the year. However, this challenge has helped me realize that the most precious moments are those spent with loved ones closest to us. I am beyond thankful and appreciative to have such incredible people in my life, and I cannot think of anything more beautiful.

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Have a Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

After a day’s worth of cooking, baking, and eating, it’s finally time to sit down and write! It’s nothing we don’t already know—Thanksgiving is a time to share with loved ones and really think about what we are grateful for in our lives. Whether it’s knowing that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, health, safety, security, a bit of financial stability, loved ones who care about us, the ability to receive an education, or even freedom in the very country we live in, there is so much that we can all find to be thankful for.

Throughout these last few days, weeks, months, and years, I have become increasingly thankful for simple treasures, and these treasures are all of you. Knowing that there are people reading what you put out there is a true honor and privilege, and I could not be any more grateful for fellow bloggers and readers who continuously support both me and my writing, day in and day out. However you decide to spend your Thanksgiving, I hope it is a wonderful one surrounded by those you love and filled with countless blessings.

We shouldn’t limit our thankfulness or gratitude to one holiday each year, so here’s hoping we can each learn to be more thankful and appreciative in the upcoming year. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and know that we made it! The cooking is past us, the cleaning is over, and now it’s just us and leftovers. Talk about being appreciative!

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Snapshot Challenge Saturday

To conclude my story-telling from my trip to Guatemala for a medical mission this past summer, I’ll leave you with this story. A mother sat down at my triage table with her twelve-year-old daughter and two-year old baby. Upon inquiring into her medical needs and what we could do for the three of them, the mother explained that she had been experiencing depression for quite some time now. Her twelve-year-old daughter had severe asthma, and her mother could not afford to purchase the necessary medication for her. Seeing her daughter so sick and constantly suffering from asthma attacks led the mother into a state of depression. Feeling as though there was nothing she could do for her daughter, the mother had been experiencing feelings of hopelessness and despair on behalf of her daughter. She could not bear seeing her daughter in such a terrible state.

I promised the mother that the doctors would take good care of her daughter, and provide her with the medication needed to help better her asthma. She continuously thanked me, as I walked them over to the room where the pediatricians were working. Later in the day, the mother approached me with a bag of medication and thanked me for my help. She explained that she, as well as her newborn and twelve-year-old daughter had each been seen by a doctor, and that her daughter had received asthma medication to last for four months. She was so appreciative, but she asked if we happened to have any more medicine, seeing as our mission would not be returning for a total of six months.

I walked into the makeshift pharmacy, and the pharmacist said there were only three boxes of asthma medications remaining, but they were not the same kind as the young girl received from the doctor. The mother asked if there was anything I could do, because she didn’t want her daughter to experience such awful asthma attacks again once the medication ran out four months later. I took the new box of asthma medicine and asked the pediatrician if it would be okay to give to the young girl, and he mentioned it was fine; it was just a different brand of medicine. I gave the mother the last three boxes of asthma medication for her daughter, and she actually jumped for joy.

I am not able to understand what it is like to be a parent who has to see his or her child suffer from such severe asthma attacks, but I was able witness firsthand how excited this mother was to receive just enough medicine to last a few extra months for her little girl. Something so simple such as asthma medication is not something I would typically think too much of. But unfortunately, this happens to be a given of life: we often take things for granted without realizing that somewhere in the world, someone would be beyond appreciate of such a possession—especially this particular medication. Seeing the joy in this mother’s eyes was most definitely a beautiful sight to see, and there is no other story I would have wanted to use to conclude the sharing of my experiences on a medical mission to Guatemala this past June.

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Snapshot Challenge Saturday

Having recently returned from a medical mission to Guatemala, we had over one thousand people waiting to be seen by the various doctors in attendance. Keep in mind, this was the very first time that many of these individuals were ever seeing a doctor. As patients waited in line for hours, some of the volunteers from the mission trip passed out peanut butter sandwiches, since so many of the individuals had not eaten all day long. Watching a woman patiently wait to receive medical attention and be so appreciative for a small sandwich was truly a beautiful sight to say the least.

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One Lovely Blog Award

ONE LOVELY BLOGGER AWARD:

I recently spent the past few days away from WordPress (well, not completely away since I continued reading posts from fellow bloggers, but wasn’t posting anything, myself) trying to organize myself, my thoughts, but more importantly, take in as much of Spain as possible before this incredible experience comes to an end at the end of next week. So you can imagine, it was really great and encouraging to check out comments on my blog, informing me that I was in fact nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. I was nominated by http://theblazingtrail.wordpress.com as well as by David from http://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com. They both have truly amazing blogs, and I would strongly suggest stopping by! And of course, I thank you both for this much appreciated award!!

The rules for the award are as follows:

1. I need to thank the person who nominated me.

2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know

3. Nominate 15 bloggers.

4. Notify the nominees that I have done so.

5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site.

About Me:

I’m not too sure what I haven’t already told everyone about myself, so I’ll try my best to dig deep and not have to make anything up.

1. My first name was supposed to be Adam. My mom was in love with the name and planned on having it be my name, but my sister who was 7 years old at the time fought against it. She said there was a kid in her class named Adam who would constantly pick his nose, and begged my mom for a different name. My parents ended up agreeing on Daniel and compromised with my sister which is how I got my middle name, Adam. (Believe it or not, that’s actually not a made-up story)

2. I am currently fulfilling one of my dreams, which has always been to visit Spain and potentially study abroad there, and now I’m actually doing both!

3. I am terrible with directions so I’m usually late to places if my GPS doesn’t come through for me.

4. I am usually late to everything and try to blame my un-timeliness on my lack of directional skills as much as possible.

5. I used to never want to blog or be a part of social media until I attended the Writer’s Digest Conference in January, and was told by various agents that the only way to get your work published is to build a marketing platform and have an audience. I proceeded in making a blog and a twitter account, and (more so with my blog) have come across incredible people, made fellow WordPress friends, found blogs that I cannot stop following, and have been inspired by fellow bloggers to share my stories, because let’s face it: we all have one.

6. I am appreciative to those who follow and scan over my work, but more importantly read it (even if the only person reading is my mom) because it lets me know that just maybe, someone can learn something from me.

7. I gave up eating pork this past January for religious purposes. You see, I used to eat pepperoni pizza a lot and was a huge fan of bacon and salami, but refused to eat ham and sausages because that was part of the no pork rule that my religion follows. So after a trip to Israel in the end of December, I decided to follow the rule all the way and permanently gave up pork and the mixing of meat and dairy products. (Saying goodbye to cheeseburgers has been the hardest part though, incase anyone was wondering).

Since I was nominated for the Lovely Blog Award twice, both times within a few days of each other, I decided to double the amount of people I could nominate. So I guess this is what it feels like to break the rules. From cooking to inspiration, comedic relief to serious topics, and traveling across the world or to your backyard, there are a lot of award-worthy blogs that I have been coming across in recent days/weeks, but just to name a few:

  1. http://ahealingpath.wordpress.com/
  2. http://bardessdmdenton.wordpress.com/
  3. http://southwestadventurer.com/
  4. http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/
  5. http://resilientheart.wordpress.com/
  6. http://reconstructingchristina.wordpress.com/
  7. http://mysmallstillvoice.wordpress.com/
  8. http://17andbaking.com/
  9. http://danishexchange.wordpress.com/
  10. http://lookingatthewest.com/
  11. http://augustomachadoneto.wordpress.com/
  12. http://memomuse.wordpress.com/
  13. http://bahbs.wordpress.com/
  14. http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/
  15. http://betigaklaten.wordpress.com/
  16. http://liliessparrowsandgrass.wordpress.com/
  17. http://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/
  18. http://selfblossoming.wordpress.com/
  19. http://sweetnscrappy.com/
  20. http://wise1coaching.wordpress.com/
  21. http://themariaantoinette.wordpress.com/
  22. http://amaanjourney.com/
  23. http://thecardigantales.wordpress.com/
  24. http://maxiscomments.com/
  25. http://hilarishappenings.wordpress.com/
  26. http://carefreecomposition.com/
  27. http://malouprestado.com/
  28. http://origamiraven.wordpress.com 
  29. http://thetroublewithtwentytwo.wordpress.com/  
  30. http://write4you.org/ 
  31. http://gonetoswantravel.com/ 
  32. http://theyummyzone.wordpress.com/
  33. http://pavloskapralos.wordpress.com/
  34. http://natashamontoya89.wordpress.com/
  35. http://juliehansenintuitive.com/
  36. http://workthedream.wordpress.com/
  37. http://packgolive.wordpress.com/
  38. http://walkswithyogi.wordpress.com/
  39. http://thewhyaboutthis.com/
  40. http://studyabroad.joshuascriven.com/
  41. http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/
  42. http://novicejournal.wordpress.com/
  43. http://photoscience.wordpress.com/
  44. http://toddlohenry.com/
  45. http://faitaccompli.wordpress.com/

Congratulations to the above bloggers! This award is much deserved, and I look forward to continue reading your lovely blogs 🙂 (see what I did there?). All best, Dan