Raging Waters Fill Me

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While I was impressed and excited to get close to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, the bonus of the hike there was really the Nugget Creek Falls. I remembered snapping a few pictures with it as a backdrop but didn’t know that the trail to the glacier was a trail that ended at these majestic, powerful, raging falls – these falls were like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I’d seen falls of course but none as raging from such close proximity.

I was able to stand as close to it as I’d ever imagined or could without standing in the freezing deep water just below it.

I snapped a few pictures again from much closer range this time and then, found myself staring up in search of what beginning of it I could mark – from where my view of its beginning was anyway. It was obviously nowhere near the actual beginning but the beginning to these naked, aging, fading eyes, which means that beginning was, like most everything else in life, different to each beholder.

I looked up, stared and was paralyzed with awe-ness. Awe-ness – is that even a word? It should be because awesome is now so overused (I am more guilty of that than most). So from now on – AWE-NESS. At least that’s really the only way to describe what caused me to be frozen as I experienced the force, the magnitude, the calm in the rage that I was witnessing; the pure unbridled energy that was filling my body – coming in from my feet as I stood in the rocks before the deep of the cold, in the water but in dryness thanks to my loyal hiking boots. The energy was coming up through my feet and into the rest of my being – not my body – but my being and I was unable to move from that position until God had filled me with its power – true empowerment. I know that sounds weird but it’s the only way to describe it. For those moments I felt so connected. I felt as strong as the falls and as raging as that water. I didn’t feel stuck in my skin at that moment but rather free in my skin – as free as every eagle I’d come across since stepping foot on Alaskan  soil. I felt immense gratitude and found myself mouthing a prayer of gratitude to God for this experience, for what I was feeling, for this life, for my family and friends, for our health and for this world we live in which is perfection, realizing how much a part of it we are and how much a part it is of us.

For a moment I was glad I was standing so close that the drops of tears on my face might seem like spray from these falls, although at that particular moment I didn’t necessarily give a shit.

I want to again encourage you to get out in nature and feel its awe-inspiring force; embrace the empowerment that connection will bring; embrace the smallness that you will feel and the freedom that will come from that; embrace that this is a gift we have been gifted from the Most High and I for one am going to show my appreciation by playing and relishing in it every chance I get. I’d like to encourage you to embrace the way nature will help you stop worrying about shit that doesn’t exist. Above all, I encourage you to get lost in finding yourself by stepping into the out to just BREATHE!

Happy Trails Adventurers!

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Trail Lessons from 49

 

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Alaska – the great frontier. I realize now where this title comes from.  Alaska, dear Alaska thank you for the places there we’ve been able to visit on this Dreamers Adventure Cruise for 2018, places like Ketchikan, Stagway, Hoonah, Icy Straits Point, Anchorage, Seward and oh boy Juneau. Home to the largest National Forest in our country – in the world in fact. Alaska has the most wilderness territory which means, just that, it’s wild out here. As I’m writing this I’m on my way to Denali and I know that too will have its share of epic-ness but for today, I’m going to focus on its capital Juneau.

All of these aforementioned provided their fair share of beautiful hikes and that was the goal – to hike Hike HIKE as much as possible. The perfection of a vacation where every day my hiking boots are out to play with me is the perfectest of them all.

Yes, the trails were beautiful and while I hike for the sake of hiking and being out in nature, I have to admit when there’s a beautiful ‘hike to’ point, it’s always a huge bonus. Today’s hike at Mendenhall Glacier was one of those hikes.

From a distance as soon as you walk into the national park, it’s obvious – this glacier is really something. Unlike the whiteness of the glaciers I’d walked next to near Kili’s summit, the rock candy looking hues of blues, grays and whites on Mendenhall’s made it spectacularly special. I felt great relief to the question about the melting glaciers when the ranger pointed out that although many of them are melting – almost at alarming rates these days – many are growing, evidence once again that God and Mother Nature will always take care of this Earth, even when we are not necessarily doing so. Having said that, the fact remains that we must so let’s why don’t we, take care of this Earth I mean. This site had its share of amazing views as far as the eye could see.

A good hour-long hike through Nugget Trail will get you as close to that glacier as you can get without a helicopter excursion. This trail, like every other trail I’ve ever done, had some amazing variations of foliage – just Mother Nature doing her thang. I looked over a pass and counted in an approximate 2-foot square 8 different types of plants/trees, just coexisting, very likely helping each other in some symbiotic way, seemingly enjoying being different in their sameness and the same in their differences. For a split second I thought how cool if more humans could behave this way.

At one point, my dear friend and fellow adventurer Tahiry tried to impress upon her kiddos the importance of understanding that everything in our world is energy and as she and they put their hands on a large beautiful boulder on the trail – both giving to and receiving from this energy life force – I retraced my steps on this hike for some reason, which was so much like the hundreds of hikes I’ve taken since I became addicted. I’m a feeler and I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but I like to dip my hands in the waters to feel for temperature and urgency of currents; I press my hands on the beds of moss or moss-covered rocks to feel the softness and check for degrees of cushion-ness on the beds of green to simply connect; I feel and smell the trees when I’m hiking; I make sure to put my bare feet on the ground whenever possible to fill myself with this energy and do that often.

I realized again as I had in the past that everything I experience on these trails is life and carries energy and makes a mark and changes the landscape for the better. Passed life, so many of these trees, like our grandparents, even in their death have forever changed the world – they’ve made their contribution in life and continue to do so in death.

Our dear friends, actually more like family, lost a great one the day of this hike. Gustavo, who was an amazing father, husband and grandfather, is now in Heaven watching over them all. I’m praying for the entire Reina family from a distance and know that he is already in God’s amazing embrace.

Like those trees and stones in the forests, his contribution in life was such that the effects of his legacy are going to be felt for generations to come. Because of how he loved he will live on in the hearts of his children, amazing grandchildren and everyone who knew him.

This happens with those in our families who have gone before us because they made the time and the effort to make that impact just by being – like those stones and trees – simply what God intended them to be.

I question myself and often question others – are we doing what we must to leave it better than it was when we arrived? What impact are we making? How are we contributing?

I’m a firm believer in thinking outside the box but an even firmer believer in thinking outside – just thinking outside. Please go outside and see this beautiful world that God has created for you to enjoy. I encourage you to get lost because it is there where you will find yourself.

Live it out loud and leave your mark!

 

 

 

My Role as a Grandmother?

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During one of the many hikes we took this week, one of the impromptu ones – just at the entrance to Cade’s Cove in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee – we ran into the beautiful creek of a river. We’d stopped into this picnic area before we entered the 11-mile driving museum which by the way is beautiful and educational and a real gem.

There was Khloe, adventurous as always, wanting to walk across a great fallen tree log to get to the other side of the bubbling river. Since it had rained quite a bit on that day and the week leading up to it, the river was a bit more raging than I’d seen in many years. Although the water was shallow, the sleek rocks that lined and contributed to the beautiful falls we’d stopped to experience were, as would be expected very slippery. So was that log. Yet Khloe wanted to get across. I studied how this could work, rolled up my pants and as she carefully climbed onto the log, I joined her, walking through the colder-than-I’d-expected knee-deep water, in parallel following her steps with an outstretched hand to help support her walk across, feeling the surprising strength of the current every other step or so. As I tried, I was less worried with my slipping on the rocks and falling into the water than I was about making sure to keep a steady yet loose grip on her hand – just steady enough to make her feel comfortable and supported but not so much that she didn’t feel she was in fact walking across that log. We made it to the other side of the river where we hiked just a bit on the moss-filled rocks and logs before we headed back, which of course meant doing the same thing all over again on the return.

Since this was a 3G hike, Jacelyne took this picture and sent it to me. This picture filled me with emotion on so many levels but before I get into that, let me try if I may to explain the couple of weeks leading up to this Pigeon Forge trip. The Saturday before the Sunday, I attended a ‘Fixing the Foundations’ retreat, put together by Jo Naughton. For those of you who don’t know her, I recommend you look her up. I didn’t (know her that is) and am glad I did (look her up). Because the recommendation had come from a dear friend who never misses on recommendations like these, thanks Cindy, I knew I had to be there. What I didn’t know was just how transformational it was going to be, and is still, and I’m certain will continue to be. Since this is going to be the subject of another post, let’s just leave it at that. All of this to say, I arrived in Tennessee with what I’ll call empowered vulnerability.

I’d had a few visits to the 2nd half of my 2018 calendar in those couple of weeks with the feeling that I really wanted to make space, make time and clear some things that weren’t yet firm commitments and so I did. For the first time in a long time (or perhaps ever) I made space because I knew I needed to make space – my soul was requiring it and I was going to gift it to myself, again for the first time ever. I’m proud to say that for now, my second half is clear and chill and while open to what comes next, I’m not feeling ‘in search of’.

Also in those couple of weeks and most notably, I remember the conversation I had with Jacelyne (my daughter for those who don’t know) now 30, and for the last 6 ½ years, mother of Khloe – my favoritist of all humans, whose hand I’m holding in this picture. During this conversation, she explained to me the why’s and why not’s, the how much sense it made and the how happy she would be’s of her plans to move to Washington, yes Washington, as in state not D.C. Now I’ll be honest, while I can’t say it was all that surprising since I half-expected from her recent posts that it was a very real possibility she was itching to move away, the fact that it was clear across to the opposite tippity end of the U.S. did smart.

I know the amazing opportunities that will come for epic photography on the west coast, I’m happy for what this will represent for her business. I know that she is more than capable of taking care of Khloe, she’s a great Mom. This is not the first time she’ll be away because she lived and in fact Khloe was born in Colorado, and FUCK, I thought Colorado was far, but she and we made it work. I know that I and everyone back home will miss them, yes I get it. And needless to say, I’m not going to quite know what to do with myself since my little movie and Starbucks buddy, hiking and park partner and my hilarious practical joking cohort will be so far away.  But I’ll tell you what I learned from this photograph….

…I learned that we raise our children who God has entrusted us with for however long it takes for them to spread their wings and fly. I learned that it’s up to them where they want to fly, not up to us. I learned that their lives are theirs to live and we need to relish in their independence, no matter how much we’ll miss them. I learned that we can’t look at where they’re going with a calculation of how many miles they are putting between us and them but rather how far their courage is allowing them to go. I learned that their decisions are just that and I for one trust that they are the rights ones – they will be better humans for having been given the opportunity to make them, without judgment and without interference. Above all, I learned that when they tell us they want to ‘cross a log’ all we can do is jump in the water next to them, no matter how cold or uncomfortable it may be, offer a supporting hand and when they are ready to let go, be ready and willing to let go too.

Happy Trails Badass Grandmas!

And Then There’s Mai

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It never seizes to amaze me how much perfection God puts into bringing together the most amazing people to make up these teams with which we travel on these life-changing mission trips, at least the ones I’ve been on. This trip was no exception.

It was a first-of-its kind mission/cultural trip and it was perfect. I’m walking away with a tremendous sense of gratitude to each and every one on this trip for the lessons I learned from without them even being aware of it.

Mark and Dee, your leadership always make the ‘yes’ for these trips come easy and given the nature of this trip, I figured we’d be in for a treat. Your vision never seizes to amaze me and the heart you have for the tens of thousands of children whose lives have been impacted so positively is nothing short of contagious. As is usually the case with you Dee, I could see your head spinning as you stared out the window of the bus, very likely planning what’s next. Honestly, I can’t wait to hear all about it. Thank you Dee and Mark for always leading the way.

It was a real treat to see Sherri, Bailey and Dana have this experience together, especially at a time when so much beautiful change is coming to them with Bailey’s quickly-approaching entrance into college, where we all know she’s going to be great. What a beautiful family you are, inside and out. With every tear Sherri cried each time one of the kids would come over to her with a hug, I grew in my admiration for the dedication you have to change the world for these children. Thank you Sherri, Bailey and Dana for reiterating the powerful impact a dedicated family can make in this world.

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Scott you are simply amazing. You were the bonding agent, leading the debriefs and encouraging us to open up about what we experienced which I feel really helped us all not only bond as a group but be more deliberate about expressing what we were experiencing, each of us from our vantage points which are so diverse. On so many occasions I could see how focused and dedicated you are to the ‘vision’ aspect of it all, on getting to know the vision of those people leading the charge as child champions and boots on the ground. Thank you Scott for reminding me that there is great power in vision and in allowing God to lead us to where we will do the most good.

I was so happy you were on this trip Peter. We all relied on you leading up to the trip and the surgeon-like precision with which you were able to plan it (which we all have come to know and appreciate to be a daunting task) is nothing short of impressive. It was great to get to know you on a personal level and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how extremely grateful we are not only for your role in the planning and coordination of the trip but for sharing and opening up about what this meant to you as well. Thank you Peter for your selflessness and your dedication.

Janie although you had to leave us early, it was great to have you as part of this group and really great to get to know you. You have so much heart for these children and it was great that you were able to meet your sponsored child of so many years. The fact that you brought along so many of her letters I’m sure meant the world to her and your relationship has certainly been made stronger than ever before. You are a sweetheart and I can’t wait to get to know you better. Continued prayers for you and your family as you journey through this difficult time. Thank you Janie for reminding me how much beauty there is in an open heart.

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I love hearing people’s testimonies and learning how they came to know the Lord and Anna, your story was a beautiful one indeed. I loved your tone, your softness as you shared so many great stories that I know I will always cherish. I also loved how much interest you had in getting to know our stories as well. It was so touching to experience you meeting your sponsored children for the first time and I know you’ve made a difference in the lives of so many children so far, now solidifying that relationship even further. Thank you Anna for sharing your faithfulness.

Karol, meeting you was a real treat and I so enjoyed your adventurous spirit when it came to the food. Brave Karol was willing to try it all. It was so nice getting to know you and hearing stories about your travels to exotic places to meet other sponsored children. Your dedication and passion for helping them thrive is a beautiful thing indeed. Thank you Karol for sharing your story and the importance of learning how to make ‘lemonade’.

I forgot to ask you during the trip but Mary, I need to find out what vitamins you take. You are always so much fun to be around and since this was a second trip with you, I knew you were going to be a blast. I love love love how much you enjoy playing and being around the children and since you’re a magnet for them, you rarely had an opportunity to rest when they were around. I love your heart for service and always enjoy hearing you share stories about so many mission trips which you’ve been on. Thank you Mary for reminding me that the most important thing we can offer children is our time.

Karla, you’re always so much fun. In your own quiet way, you’re always looking into how you can do more. I love your willingness in all things – your willingness to serve, your willingness to inquire about how you can help and your willingness to make a difference in the lives of children every day. I love your adventurous spirit and can’t wait to hear about your travels this summer (secretly wishing Florida is somewhere on that list so that at least we could meet in the middle). Thank you Karla for reminding me that there is always more we can do to bring hope where hope is needed.

One of my goals for this trip was getting to know you a little better Garrie and I feel blessed and honored that I was able to do that. You are an amazing lady and you have taught me that there is a great deal of God-given power in living a life dedicated to elevating others as you have done with your family, as a successful Alumni and as a successful woman in a business which is all about helping people get to that next level. You are walking your walk lady and I admire that so much. I love the connection you made with Risa and know that the impact you are making in her life will help her to elevate her family and community as well. She has a great example in a sponsor to follow. Thank you Garrie for reminding me that we can always make a difference (and look great doing it).

When Jorge first agreed to come on this trip, I have to admit I didn’t know what I was in for. I’m so blessed that you came along and have so loved watching you connect with these children and experience first-hand the impact you have been dedicated to all these years for all our children around the globe. I know what a giving heart you have and could tell you instantly became addicted to missions, experiencing first-hand what a difference you are actually making, which I was not-so-secretly praying for. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you on this journey but can tell it’s going to be amazing.

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And then there’s Mai – the life of the party, the lover of all the foods in this exotic land. It’s been a treat to have had a front-row seat to see you blossom into this amazing young badass woman, successful entrepreneur and conductor at times of your beautiful family over the years. Having said that, it’s only fair to say that it’s truly been a blessing to experience this trip with you. You embraced vulnerability to open up and share the gift of your stories with us so that we could hear what your heart was experiencing. You laughed, you welcomed every experience with a team-player attitude and you made it a blast for the rest of us. What was most beautiful was seeing your heart in full force and effect. The compassion, empathy and love you naturally have for people is beyond beautiful. Dareach is so blessed to have you in his life and we know he’s already proud. We loved watching him show you off to his friends and the realization that your letter and picture are going to mean so much to him is a testament to the impact you have already made in his life. You have a huge heart for giving and service and making a difference and surely I’m not alone in saying that watching all of it made this trip that much more special. Thank you for teaching me that God’s gifts of compassion and love are meant to be shared with everyone we come in contact with.

I will thank God for the rest of my days for the beautiful people I was able to share this experience with and can’t wait to see what’s next for all of these world changers.

Faces of Impact

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When this sponsorship journey began with receipt of a packet containing Sipao’s bio 4 years ago, almost to the day, I didn’t know it then but it sparked a passion for or dedication to (or obsession with not sure which is more accurate) the impact that comes from child sponsorship. Yes, child sponsorship is impactful, magical and powerful.

The obvious is well, obvious. When someone sponsors a child, they are making a difference in the life of that child that they may not quite have a handle on. After all $39 to us may not mean much, what is that, a few trips to Starbucks? Fine. But to that child and their family, it represents a chance at an education, nutrition and medical attention they might not have otherwise had. It means they are spiritually fed and become part of an in-country community that is supportive, encouraging and looking out for the best interest of each child’s success. That’s a lot for $39 in my opinion.

On this trip we were blessed to meet Kimheng, Somnang, Buntann, Bopha, Sivorn, Sreyneang & Sovann. All beautiful, all happy, all excited about their futures – all sponsored by us, family and friends and all now more aware that we really do exist, that we really do love them and that God willing, we will see them again.

These are the faces of impact. Mary, Tahiry, Anadalys, Rebequina, Khloe and Jorge, know with all your hearts that you have positively altered the course of your child’s life with your sponsorship in more ways than you can possibly grasp now. I know Rebequina who was 9 when she sponsored Bopha and Khloe who was 3 when she sponsored Gloria and 5 when she sponsored Buntann, may not fully understand yet but they are growing up in a world where giving, impact and compassion are simply a normal part of life. Those of you with little ones, I encourage you to think about the potential conversations you can engage them in about what matters, conversations we don’t always have time to bring up since the focus tends to be on surviving homework, projects, extra-curricular activities, chores, etc. (Chores?  Do kids have chores anymore?)

I brought back photographs and videos of those smiles representing gratitude, joy and most of all the hope they now have in what the future holds for each of them – the hope in the fact that endless possibility is within their reach as never before.  Please know that your children are grateful, that their parents are grateful, understanding of the sacrifice and that they are all praying for you as much as you are praying for them.

What tends to be most amusing is that the scales of impact, magic and power are tipped way in favor of the sponsor. I’m not saying the child doesn’t experience and benefit from all of that, obviously they do – what I am saying is that in life the giver is always much more blessed than the receiver and cases such as these are no exception. As sponsors, we are supposed to be changing these children’s lives for the better but what I’ve found is that they have been the ones changing ours.

While the highlight here is on those children we met on this trip, I’m blessed to know so many friends and family who have stepped up to change the world for children all around the globe. I’m honored to know each one of those people who commit to making a difference to one child at a time because the way I see it, you never know how that child will grow to change the world. Believe that you are changing the world, because you are!  Alas, our only obligation is to plant those seeds God has called us to plant. He will take care of the harvest.

Big hug,

Berta

Berta Medina-Garcia, PCC

http://www.dreamerssucceed.com

To find out more information about child sponsorship, please visit www.onechildmatters.org

 

 

History and Hope

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I love mission trips. I’m not saying this from a selfish place but from where I stand, I’ve always felt that I’ve received so much more than I could possibly have contributed. Admittedly, the return of each of these trips is hard and if I’m being honest, reentry always hits me like a ton of bricks – fully aware I’m likely not alone in feeling this way.

This trip was a bit different because it was a combination of mission and an unlike-any-other-way to experience the culture and history. I will not tire you with the details as half may know it already and another half may have never been aware. I fall into that second half. Every emotion you can imagine bubbled up as we came to learn the history of Cambodia.

If you’re not aware, it’s worth looking into what the beautiful people of Cambodia had to endure during Pol Pot’s Regime/Khmer Rouge takeover.

I was angered at the atrocities. As we visited the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields, where I swear you could still smell the stench of death, I was sick to my stomach. Not by the smell per se but by all that happened there. To think of the millions of lives lost – so many of those lives likely wishing for a swift death to spare them from the senseless torture, starvation and dehumanization they had to endure. It was difficult to swallow how once one person in a family was killed the rest of the entire family had to be killed because it was this personification of evil’s belief that you couldn’t leave any survivors who might want to take revenge later. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget how they phrased it “To kill the grass, you must pull out even the root.” F*!king asshole. Again, I will spare the gruesome details because describing them would have you believing like me, that calling it an atrocity is the understatement of the century. It was a holocaust!

I was embarrassed that the ‘rest of the world’, ourselves included, didn’t do more to prevent it, that we didn’t intercede in time or possibly ever. Where were we? What natural resource did they not have that made most of the rest of the world look the other way? This was just the other day people, what was going on everywhere else that was so important that we were absent from this? WHERE WERE WE?

I was disgusted to learn how many countries’ intercessions came in the way of assistance for that very evil that everyone ignored until he fled, this Pol Pot dickhead of all dickheads, who fled to the outskirts, living out a life of luxury with his children and grandchildren, a luxury he denied millions. Those very countries that ignored the terror at his hand were somehow able to step in and pay for these rest of his days, and while some of the countries on that list may have been expected, it was disgusting to hear that allegedly our very own country was on the list of assistees. I’m hoping this is nothing more than a sick rumor because if true, c’mon people, WTF?

A tremendous feeling of gratitude for our 2nd Amendment overtook me at one point, stronger that I’d ever felt before even coming from Cuban parents.

It took a couple of days for the sights we’d seen to settle, although there’s no certainty that it’s processed just yet. I remember perusing walls and walls of photographs of those beautiful yet helpless victims, whose faces reflected the look of devastation, numbness, fear and brokenness which could not be denied. Having said that, I also recall how every so often one of those faces wore a smile. I couldn’t quite understand how they could have mustered a smile during those times. Was it that they hadn’t quite understood their fate? Was it that they had sufficient faith that they knew a higher power was in charge?

Or was it hope? It looked like hope to me. I’m not certain how but it looked like hopefulness. Perhaps it’s the optimist in me who believes that hope always finds a way to endure. Did they feel this too – these smilers? I’d secretly wished that was the case. Better to die with hope in your heart than with despair. Living in hope is far better than living in fear. I feel that in the end, hope always wins. Good always wins and God’s plan always wins, even with an interruption of such unimaginable evil.

Despite it all and yes, I realize it’s easy for me to say, I believe that hope has indeed won. I see how the very survivors of these atrocities, which no man, woman or child should have ever endured, have not only survived but are thriving and standing tall – doing what they can to insure history does not repeat itself. Some of these heroes, who we were blessed to meet and interact with, are determined to make a difference, to have an impact and have made it their mission to bring hope to that next generation. They are positively impacting the world for so many children who are the future of Cambodia. They are planting the seeds and creating new roots for these children so that the harvest will be one of hope, blessings and a brighter future for this beautiful country known as Cambodia.

Berta

Berta Medina-Garcia, P.C.C.

http://www.dreamerssucceed.com

(Photo taken of a pond at The Killing Fields.  Seemed to say ‘hope endures’)

 

 

 

Their Children, Our Children

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Unlike other journeys I’ve taken, there was little or no time (or effort really) to journal. As is always the case, I kept trying to convince myself I wouldn’t forget the details, those details that I’m typically so careful to summarize at the end of each day.

It’s still fresh enough since we’re just now on the first of several flights on our long journey home. Although I know I’ll miss a lot, I thought I’d take this opportunity to jot a few things down.

This trip, like every other trip to these exotic and foreign lands, is about the children, first and foremost. What made this trip different was that there were so many personal ones to visit.  This was more spread out so it felt, well, different. Kimheng for me, Somnang for Jorge, Buntan for Khloe, Bopha for Rebecca, Sovann & Seyreain for Maria and Anadalys and finally Sivorn for Tahiry. So much to share with each of them about their sponsors but the message from us is always the same – that we love them; that their sponsors love them and that above all, God loves them.

It happened each time after the initial shyness began to melt away,  a conversation would ensue, with or without the need of an interpreter.  My question to each of them once the basics were out of the way was ‘What’s your dream? How are you going to impact the world?’ I love asking this because whether or not they have an answer and whether or not they answer with a typical or an out of the box reply, it gets them to think.  More than anything I want to let them know that God has planted the seeds of greatness within them so that they can 1) achieve their dreams, whatever those may be and 2) believe that they can and will impact the world.

The blessings however were in the answers. The ‘I want to’s’ are always a gift because behind every single ‘I want to’ was a smile that seemed to say they too believed it was possible.  Among these answers were what I call big things like “I want to move to a remote village in the province where I grew up and plant a church there to bring many people to know the love of Christ because there are no Christians there.” Kimheng (an older one).

Others like “I work in IT and I have a team now but I want to see my team grow and do good things for themselves and their families” Vearsa (who’s name tag said Prince Vearsa) my favorite Cambodian Go-Giver.  I spoke with others from future teachers, doctors and nurses to future pilots, marketers and translators. All dreams brewing inside these beautiful children who came from dark and lacking places and situations where these dreams might not have been a possibility. I see how the light of God is shining in them, with unconditional support and encouragement coming in the form of their sponsors and these boots on the ground like Ken, Kelly, Dareth and so many others who have committed their lives to serving the most vulnerable among us, God’s children, so that they can build their dreams and live the lives that God has destined them for, a life of changing the world for the better.   So many of them feel compelled to come back to where it all began for them and dedicate their service to that next generation of world changers.

Yes gifts, smiles, pictures and hugs were exchanged.   Yes, we played soccer and catch and shared lots of laughs. Yes, these children’s lives are much improved by the open hearts of each of their respective sponsors, absolutely. But I will argue until my last breath that the sponsor’s impact on the child is nothing in comparison to the child’s impact on the sponsor. I have witnessed this on every trip, I have witnessed this in my own home and I live that truth myself, every day, humbled, honored and blessed that God has provided me with the opportunity to become a part of these children’s lives, to visit them – to come to know these places and these people whom I undoubtedly end up falling in love with EVERY TIME I’m out here.

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” – James Keller

These are the children of Cambodia. They are the future of Cambodia and I can’t wait to see how they are going to change the world.

Berta

Berta Medina-Garcia, PCC

Dreamers Succeed LLC

http://www.dreamerssucceed.com

To find out how you can sponsor a child and positively impact their lives, please visit http://www.onechildmatters.org

 

 

 

Reintroducing the Human Element

people-networkDoes this sound familiar? You turn on the TV: commercial. You answer the phone: telemarketer. You head onto Facebook or Instagram to kill some time: ads right on your feed between a pic of one friend’s dog and another friend’s baby.  Advertising has become a commodity that anyone can purchase and use with little to no effort.  For the price of a fast food meal, someone can put an ad out to hundreds of people (and it doesn’t matter if it’s not a particularly good ad). Why is that bad for you? Because, even if they’re not direct competition, they are competing for a quickly dwindling resource: attention. Think about it: if they weren’t established brands already, can you imagine what Tide or Apple would have to do to break through the clutter of the modern marketplace? So if even multi-million dollar companies are having trouble rising above the din of the modern marketing realm, what could you do to keep your business going despite the sea of competitors?

Reintroduce The Human Element

People want to work with people. Despite the fact that we’re far more capable of mistakes than computers, that kind of interaction doesn’t appease our naturally social nature. Take that, robots!

That’s where (take a deep breath and sit down)…

Ready?

Networking is the solution. I’m no statistician, but I believe that a good seventy percent of the people who hear that word unconsciously reel.

Can you blame anyone for that response? Networking has become the least appealing way of getting new business over time. When marketing gurus promise that you can “explode your business in x minutes with Facebook,” we flock to it because it requires no interaction or vulnerability on our part.

But you know what? Interaction and “vulnerability” is what it’s going to take to make REAL connections.

Here are some common questions I see all the time when it comes to networking:

1) Is networking worth the investment of time? It is worth every minute of your time and still stands as the best way to connect authentically and build win-win business relationships. Of course, that’s if you’re networking correctly.

Chances are there is an endless supply of networking events going on in your town. With access to social media and sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MeetUp and EventBrite just to name a few, you can find networking events going on near you. You can even narrow them down by niche or areas of interest. Find those events where you may find people within your target audience.

2) Are the connections you make actually worth it? Networking helps you make good connections as long as you are focused on the people— not the business. When you’re focused on the bottom line, it comes through in your speech and mannerisms. The most prosperous and gratifying way to build your business is to build new relationships which eventually lead to a stronger business through an authentic support network.

3) Why isn’t networking ‘working’ for me? The biggest problem with networking is that many people either don’t know what the true purpose of networking is or they’ve somehow forgotten how it works. Many networking events have devolved into business card recycling parties. You might as well be passing them around on the street. If you are networking for any other reason than to connect and build strong relationships, you’re missing the point and will likely get nothing worthwhile out of it.

4) How can I maximize my networking efforts to grow my business? Shift your focus on what networking is so that a) you enjoy it more and b) you are reaping the benefits of your time/money investment in these events. If you don’t currently enjoy it, find a way to make yourself enjoy it. Very often this is simply a shift in the focus of what you are actually there to do.

Tweak your mindset so that the pressure is off of you to perform or sell at the event so that you enjoy it more.

Also, if you are not currently good at networking, get good at it. It will pay off big in the long run if you are willing to make the time to master your networking prowess. Some ways to do this are to dedicate yourself to becoming a connector; thinking outside the box and developing the skills necessary to become a master at relationship building.

Chances are that you are passionate about what you do and people pick up on passion. That’s why networking and building relationships is so important. It’s hard to pick up on that passion via an ad or sometimes even via social media. But in person, that passion can’t be contained.

Commit today to upping your networking game to build stronger relationships, take your business to the next level and finally begin achieving the kind of success you desire in 2018..

Wishing you lots of meaningful connections in 2018!

Berta Medina-Garcia, PCC

Success & Adventure Coach

Dreamers Succeed, LLC

CoachBerta@dreamerssucceed.com

www.dreamerssucceed.com

Telephone: 954.274.3875

Coach Berta Medina-Garcia is a certified Success & Adventure Coach, Go-Giver Speaker and founder & facilitator of The High Achievers Mastermind Guild. With her expertise and unique brand of comfort zone coaching, she is successful in guiding entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners to reach their full potential in their personal and business lives so that they can achieve astronomical success.
If you would like to find out more information about becoming an expert networker, reaching astronomical success and becoming the most sought-after connection at networking events, please visit https://www.successsculptor.com

 

 

Embrace the Power of Tribe in 2018

mastermind

 

If you’ve tried shifting focus, strategizing, and marketing but still can’t grow your business — you might be too close to see what isn’t working.

When you’re in the thick of it – figuring out accounts, selling product, and wearing a thousand other hats – it’s hard to focus on improvements. After all, you have to make money to stay afloat! But there’s one often overlooked way to bring big changes to your business – a powerful tool that is used b c-level executives and scrappy startups.

Many people pursuing a personally (and financially) rewarding business decide to throw in the towel when the going gets too tough. They often return to the 9 to 5 slog without realizing what they could have done better.

Entrepreneurship is a journey peppered with difficult moments and rife with victories. This is especially true for the Solo entrepreneur’s journey.

It helps to have people you can share ideas with – a “team” that can help you when you need a second opinion. And that’s one of the greatest tools you can give yourself and your business – community.

Though many start-ups or growing businesses don’t have the capital to invest in hiring a full-time or even part-time team just yet, mastermind groups are often overlooked and underappreciated. These groups can be essential in helping business owners take their business to the next level. Advice and support from peers can kick-start your efforts, help you stick things out, and grow your business.

While the advantages of participating in or joining a mastermind group are endless, here a just a few you may want to consider:

  1. Brainstorm about business concepts and ideas with peers: A mastermind is generally comprised of like-minded success seekers with an interest in growing their businesses by brainstorming new ideas.

The type of businesses in your mastermind may vary, but the enthusiasm and drive of its members are often well-aligned. During a mastermind session, each member is able to bring their issues or ideas to a hot seat discussion where other members chime in and offer suggestions, possible areas for improvement, implementation recommendations and above all, support.

  1. Get help facilitating plans or concepts: A mastermind group brings together people from all walks of life, different areas of expertise and those with a willingness to help others while in return finding the help they need as well.

Having an objective group and different sets of eyes reviewing those plans and/or concepts will provide insight far beyond anything that could be achieved within a team who are all in the same type of business. This diversification of knowledge is invaluable.

  1. Offer accountability for goals and plans: Accountability is the name of the game when it comes to success. Every great success story has accountability weaved into it.

The beauty of a mastermind is that you can ally with multiple accountability partners in addition to accountability guidelines the facilitator brings to the table.

Your weekly or biweekly calls/meetings are powerful accountability opportunities. The objectives you set during your last meeting are brought back to the table. That focus brings an urgency to accomplish your objectives.

  1. Offer for help in promoting and networking ideas: The success of each member of a mastermind group becomes the success of the group itself. Members become success partners, mutually interested in each other’s achievements and triumphs.

Members become connectors, bringing the important element of growing the network for the group as a whole. They also consistently promote each other’s endeavors with their sphere of influence.

  1. Provide an opportunity to collaborate, serve and become involved in something bigger than the individual: One of the greatest attributes to the success of mastermind groups is the fact that it provides an atmosphere and community of goodwill. Members look out for each other and are dedicated to each other’s success.

Each victory becomes the entire team’s victory and each triumph helps to elevate the triumphs of everyone in the group. In a world where it seems everyone is out for themselves, joining a mastermind group reignites a passion for helping people reach their full potential.

In a nutshell, a mastermind group can help bring you closer to astronomical success with professional perspectives, moderated discussions and an invaluable community of like-minded success seekers.

Wishing you great collaborations in 2018!

Berta Medina-Garcia, PCC
Success & Adventure Coach
Dreamers Succeed, LLC
CoachBerta@dreamerssucceed.com
www.dreamerssucceed.com
Telephone: 954.274.3875
Coach Berta Medina-Garcia is a certified Success & Adventure Coach, Go-Giver Speaker and founder & facilitator of The High Achievers Mastermind Guild. With her expertise and unique brand of comfort zone coaching, she is successful in guiding entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners to reach their full potential in their personal and business lives so that they can achieve astronomical success.
If you would like to find out more information about becoming a key player and success seeker in her High Achievers Mastermind Guild, please visit https://www.dreamerssucceed.com/dreamers-guild-mastermind.

 

Herrera Glue

CousinsWed3

We celebrated the union of our cousins Nina and Alfred this weekend. (No, not like that) I say our ‘cousins’ because Alfred is our cousin now. He’s not our cousin’s husband, he’s now our cousin. It was a beautiful emotional ceremony and the celebration continued at the reception which was a blast! What made this event extra special was that, for the first time in a long time, there were so many cousins in the same place at the same time – that was perfection.

As far as those who ‘graduated’ into the category of the first generation, the reality that they are aging becomes more and more evident each day. As the prescriptions increase and the movements grow difficult we realize that they have subtly but surely taken the place of our grandparents, these parents of ours. I have to reiterate that we ourselves, us cousins, are not aging somehow, at least not in our minds but we have now reached that midpoint, most of us anyway. You know that middle where we’re too old to be young and too young to be old? Our children are grown for the most part, the lines on our faces are reflective of the lives that we’ve enjoyed, the grays well, were well hidden and yes we still rock. Having said that we too have ‘graduated’ and are now following closely behind as that next generation of elders.

We, us cousins, have been so blessed. We have running through our veins determination, drive, passion, compassion, the hard-talk but soft-love of these Herrera women who understood perfectly well that blood is thicker than water but love is thicker than blood. So whether by blood or by love, once you were in their hearts, you were in their hearts. The Herrera children of Matilde and Nicolas were many and for the purposes of this conversation, I am going to include the married-into’s, because somehow the Herrera’s attracted strength too so naturally. Once they were in the family, they blended in and stepped right up as if they’d been Herrera’s all along.  This always happens and I describe this family as Hotel California – you can check in but you can’t check out. Divorce is not going to save you, if you share a human with Herrera running through their veins or hearts, you are stuck with us. Resistance is futile.

I’ve traced the trunk of that side of the tree to Arara, Dohemy (now known as the Republic of Benign) in Africa. The name of that trunk is Sabino and when he arrived in Habana Harbor on La Joven Reina, a slave ship in 1835, I’m sure he had no idea how far the legacy of a slave would reach and what an amazing group of badass descendents he’d have 3, 4, 5 generations later. And don’t even get me started on that 6th generation of our children because Holy shit – they’re all freakin’ awesome!

Why do I mention these Herrera’s, particularly the women? Well, because they were the glue. I’m certain there’s always a sense of slight panic when the last of a generation finds their way to heaven. Geographically and financially being the glue could not have been easy for them given minor details like a regime takeover, leaving everything behind, becoming exiles at that age and starting over. Think about that!!! What the fuck – they went through that determined to make sure we all had a chance at better. Couldn’t have been easy but they did it. Being the glue endured all of that because family was so nothing-else-mattered important to them that they found a way.   For the generation that followed, the transition was a smooth one, although we all lived through and experienced how difficult it was for them (and for us) to lose that older generation; the difficulty in losing those in their own generation who went too soon. Regardless they left confident the glue was in good hands. There they are – that generation of our parents. They each took it upon themselves to take over the roles of the glue, conversing with each other almost on a daily basis, making sure everyone is okay, keeping each other abreast of the goings-on with the children and grandchildren to ensure everyone is in the know. Their daily social media web calls. They are all, even at their ages, looking out for their cousins with whom they played, laughed and share great memories still through thunderous laughs whenever they are together.

In addition to celebrating a beautiful union this weekend, it felt SO good to see each other in person.  I love Facebook and secretly want to create Facebook pages for the few of the cousins who don’t have one yet. To me it is the great connector and while I love how we can keep up with each other’s lives via social media, it sure as hell felt good to be able to see each other, hug each other, miss the ones who couldn’t make it and laugh with each other. It was reminiscent of when we were kids getting together a couple of times a year at least at ‘Chiquita’s, Ley’s or Humbe’s houses’ to play freeze tag or go to the fair with Pucha and have to ride all the big ones or risk having to go home.

I know we get busy and we all have a lot going on in our lives – so much of it beautiful and positive and exciting for all of us. I feel very undeservedly blessed every time I see a post on Facebook about what the kiddos are up to and accomplishing or what happiness is going on in your lives. The prayer for me is that we are letting our parents know that we are keeping in touch; that we are aware of what’s going on in each other’s lives. I hope that we are sharing the pictures we see on Facebook with our parents so that they know that although we expect them each to live to be a hundred at least, that we too are keeping tabs on each other, that we’re looking out for each other and we can take over as the glue eventually, you know in about 30 years. I’d like to pose the question (including to myself) can we be the glue? Are our children and our children’s children going to be connected and know each other like we do? That’s on us folks but the real question is how? Can we insure that our web is interconnected and far-reaching enough that no one is left untouched? I don’t say this because we should feel a sense of responsibility, guilt or indebtedness to the legacy of the Herrera’s but rather that we remain out of love, which I think we felt in abundance this weekend as we celebrated.

Congratulations again to Nina and Alfred and may God bless every step of your journey together.