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Al Que Madruga, Dios Le Ayuda

Al Que Madruga, Dios Le Ayuda | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
To stay in bed past noon was un pecado. Early rising to get ahead of our day, not to let our day get ahead of us. If by 10 a.m. we were not up, the calling of our names would commence – first lightly and calm, then at increasing frequencies, every couple of seconds, then louder, until there were full fledge hollers coming from the other side of the door, or inside our room if we had not remembered to lock the door behind us. On school days, less formalities, just my mother screaming at the top of her lungs. My father’s long, hardened nails jabbing at the side of our ribs: ¡Ey ya levantense! ¡Hay que ir a laescuela!

Al que madruga Dios le ayuda, they would say, as we clumsily rubbed our entire hands on our faces, inching slowly out of bed, yawning lazily, mouths open as far and wide as we could get them, to express our disapproval of these early morning rituals. All we wanted was to stay in bed, curled up underneath our covers, dreaming…or not…just immobile in that sublime trance between reality and unconsciousness. Where nothing else mattered besides the fact that we were comfortable.

Not my parents...
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El Que Tiene Boca Se Equivoca

El Que Tiene Boca Se Equivoca | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
¿Apoco no? ¿Cuantas veces no hemos metido la pata? Most times, from literally opening our mouths just one too many times – perhaps at the wrong time, in front of the wrong people, or even worse, without even realizing every single word we are saying is being heard…almost always by the one person we don’t want to know exactly what we really think.


And once it’s done, it’s not like we can just take our words back or pretend they were never said. They’re out there! Up for interpretation, miscommunication, confrontation, etc. All we can do at that point is damage control.

¡Ay, es que no me entendiste! You did not understand what I was saying, or how I was saying it. You missed the context of my words. How much did you actually hear? Had you heard the rest of my conversation, you would understand why I said what you heard – an honest attempt at completely annihilating the other person’s interpretation of our words by convincing them they are missing some mysterious piece of a verbal puzzle. However, be forewarned this excuse will only work a limited number of times. Soon enough you’ll be hearing: no estes chingando, como que no entendi si no estoy sordo…or any other similar reclamaciones...
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No Hay Atajo Sin Trabajo

No Hay Atajo Sin Trabajo | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Early Saturday morning we were running. Jumping out of bed, racing into the bathroom, scrubbing teeth with toothbrush, running combs through strands of wild hair, splashing water on our face, tying up our shoelaces, swallowing whole tacos full of huevo con chorizo.

Mijo, comete esto antes de que te vayas…va ‘tar bien caliente y ustedes pobrecitos van a estar en el solazo todo el día. Ay, me da mucho cuidado con ustedes. No me gusta que estén afuera tanto tiempo.

Every Saturday was the same. Before we’d board the van waiting for us at the entrance of the Bali Hai apartments, halfway full by this time with boys, 10 to 12 years old like us, lazily struggling to keep their eyes open, my mother would insist we eat something before heading out the door.

Just me and my brother Chuy...
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¡Hombre! ¡Te Haces Pendejo Para Tragar A Puños!

¡Hombre! ¡Te Haces Pendejo Para Tragar A Puños! | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
In driveways everywhere, front yards, back yards, neighborhoods, bars, clubs, patios, around the world, probably in every language, the principal complaint among buddies, when they get together for a little pisteada, is the same: ¡con las mujeres uno nunca gana! That universal grunt heard round the globe when words just aren’t enough to express our overall frustration with the opposite sex.

The common denominator among all men, in a relationship with a woman, almost our anthem, which we can’t help but chant when we finally come to that rite of passage, the realization that sometimes with our women, ‘we can’t live with them and we can’t live without them.’ Because no matter how common our interests, beliefs and values might be, the truth is ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.’ El Sexo Fuerte, with our general misunderstanding of all things emotional. El Sexo Débil, with their seeming obsession to explore even the minutest of feelings, to the very core of their existence...
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Cosas De La Vida: En La Guerra Y El Amor Todo Se Vale

Cosas De La Vida: En La Guerra Y El Amor Todo Se Vale | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
And why not? It is the single-most important human emotion we all possess. The one worth fighting for, against all odds; the one we would seemingly travel the world over to protect; the one that makes us feel safe and happy in the arms of our beloved; and even sometimes in the arms of a not-so-much-beloved. But how do you know the difference between what love is actually real, and the one that, as they say, nomás es pasajero?

More importantly, how do you deal with the reality that after the honeymoon phase is over, whether literally or not, the real work actually begins?

At my sister’s wedding, last October, the priest said something that really made me laugh – not in any perverse way, more because what came out of his mouth was literally what I had always thought, and hearing him say it made me feel very, very validated. Like hmm, see I knew I was right all this time! I’ll paraphrase what he said because I don’t remember exactly the words he used to make me feel SO right. Basically, that while the beautiful couple was very much in love at the moment, in their enviable young age and physique, that the days eventually would come when they would not be able to bare the sight of one another…be it from anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, or just plain boredom (depressing, I know, but it’s not all bad), and that it would be in those precise moments that their love would actually face the true testing of their vows...
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Los Trapos Sucios Se Lavan En Casa

Los Trapos Sucios Se Lavan En Casa | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
De chiquillo siempre me metía en lo que no me importaba. If someone was a having a conversation – the more private it was the better – there I was, con las orejas bien paradas, as my parents would say. Trying my hardest not to be noticed, listening carefully to what exactly was being said, and making every attempt to make sense of what I was hearing. When I didn’t understand the subject matter or context I’d make it up in my head – it was more fun that way anyways.

¡El metiche! That became my nickname and stuffing chisme after chisme into my morral became my business, even if I did not know exactly what to do with that information once I had it.

My sisters would get so mad when they would bring their friends over and could not have a private conversation without having to worry about Juan sitting around somewhere trying to listen. They were both in junior high at that time and their conversations never amounted to more than the usual schoolyard chatter, but I could never get enough. It was like a rush of adrenaline to know that I could get caught at any moment or even better, that they might spill the beans on something really juicy that I could then run around telling the rest of the family about...
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Al Que Madruga, Dios Le Ayuda

Al Que Madruga, Dios Le Ayuda | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
To stay in bed past noon was un pecado. Early rising to get ahead of our day, not to let our day get ahead of us. If by 10 a.m. we were not up, the calling of our names would commence – first lightly and calm, then at increasing frequencies, every couple of seconds, then louder, until there were full fledge hollers coming from the other side of the door, or inside our room if we had not remembered to lock the door behind us. On school days, less formalities, just my mother screaming at the top of her lungs. My father’s long, hardened nails jabbing at the side of our ribs: ¡Ey ya levantense! ¡Hay que ir a laescuela!

Al que madruga Dios le ayuda, they would say, as we clumsily rubbed our entire hands on our faces, inching slowly out of bed, yawning lazily, mouths open as far and wide as we could get them, to express our disapproval of these early morning rituals. All we wanted was to stay in bed, curled up underneath our covers, dreaming…or not…just immobile in that sublime trance between reality and unconsciousness. Where nothing else mattered besides the fact that we were comfortable.

Not my parents...
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A Cada Marrano Le Llega Su Sábado

A Cada Marrano Le Llega Su Sábado | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Un poco vulgar, pero cierto. After watching nearly 24 hours of almost uninterrupted Chilean miner rescues taking place before the world’s eyes, there are so many important lessons to be learned. Many of them technical – about engineering, crisis intervention, management, political action, etc. – but the most important of which revolve around one thing: faith.

Despite being trapped underground for 69 days, away from their loved ones, unaware if they would in fact ever be rescued, and if so, when, these 33 men have each shown amazing resilience and strength so far, as they slowly make their way back onto the surface of the earth, one by one. Falling on their knees, praising God, and all of the men and women who have made their miraculous rescues possible…smiling at the world, even rejoicing, and bursting at the seams with positive energy.

Their experience and journey truly a testament to the strength of the human condition. In their darkest hour they remind us that never are we alone...
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Ya Que Estamos En El Baile, Bailemos! – Guest Post

Ya Que Estamos En El Baile, Bailemos! – Guest Post | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Our first school dance – How our already fast beating hearts beat faster once there! Colored lights swam in the darkness, paper streamers decorated the walls of the gym in swooping scallops, limp balloons drooped from basketball hoops. The heavy scent of too much cologne, mostly Drakkar Noir, hung in the air and the music already thumped for an empty dance floor.

The boys shoved their hands deep in their pockets, tried to look casual, checked their slicked back hair with careful fingers and stood against the wall. The girls, squealing the way girls do, admired each other’s dresses and elaborate up-do’s at the opposite side of the gym...
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El Casado Casa Quiere

El Casado Casa Quiere | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Because two adult women in a single home is never advisable, not even under the most urgent of circumstances, and especially not if the two women in question happen to be suegra and nuera, that is to say they share one common bond – a son and a husband, one in the same.

Not that a harmonious living environment under these conditions is impossible. Let’s just say it is highly unlikely. Why? For many reasons: some logical, some illogical, others personal, and most of them, if not all of them, entirely confusing to the poor fellow stuck in the middle.

So just for kicks, guys, here a few reasons why this is a bad idea...
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Hoy Por Ti, Mañana Por Mi

Hoy Por Ti, Mañana Por Mi | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
It’s unspoken contract. An honorary promise. The strongest measure of your personal reputation. That today, what is asked of you, or what you are asking for, will be reciprocated, in the form of an apadrinamiento. Rarely of a simple baptism, Confirmation or first communion. Instead, a dollar for dollar match of your investment in another’s rite of passage – usually a wedding or quinceañera. It’s riskier than a tanda, for in matters of the heart, and teenagers igual, rarely do we have any control, and a full return is never guaranteed. What begins today in a promise of forevermore can end tomorrow in a “¡vete al diablo!” without even so much as a warning. Still we pride ourselves in our padrinos and compadres and even the best of mexicanos will someday ask…” today for me, tomorrow for you.”

¡Sin pena! Seamos padrinos...
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No Sólo De Pan Vive El Hombre

No Sólo De Pan Vive El Hombre | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Marching! Huaraches instead of tennis shoes. All white pants and a long-sleeved button down collar shirt of the same color. A simple red bandana, wrapped around the neck, slightly twisted into a single knot. No belt. No socks. Just a cream colored hat, not exactly vaquero style – a child’s hat made of straw – sitting at the top of my head. Boys dressed just like me, little girls wearing small A-line skirts in different shades of red, most of them in deep vibrant reds, evocative of passions and emotions too profound for any of us to comprehend. In waves of movement, all at the same time, we were marching, chanting the few words we did know of the Himno Nacional.

Mexicanos al grito de querra!…something, something, something…

Past the arroyos of drinkable water, the concrete-paved cancha of so many bailes, my grandfather’s house, my grandmother’s, those of mis tios y mis tias, past the tanque de agua, the remolino of early morning corn churning, all in unison, singing all the way, families at their doorsteps, watching us, singing along, celebrating the independence of a country foreign to us. The dirt roads full of rocks, sandy and dusty, much more inconvenient than the sidewalks and manicured lawns we were used to. We’d only arrived a few weeks earlier, enrolled in a school where attendance was optional even for kids as young as ourselves. If we didn’t want to go we just didn’t go. Choosing instead to roam up small hills, down trails of dirt, running from one side of the rancho to the other, carefree, and free, truly for the first time...
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Dime Con Quien Andas Y Te Dire Quien Eres

Dime Con Quien Andas Y Te Dire Quien Eres | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
To this day my mother still tells the story of how each Sunday in that modest church in the Valley, where so few people lived in town that everyone came to the same mass, regardless of whether we were white or brown, spoke English or Spanish, cleaned houses or owned the land, I’d leave my family in the last row of pews, all six of them in their nicest clothes, which many weeks were pretty much the same pair of jeans, buttoned down shirts, and dresses for my sisters, to join my always sharply-dressed, impeccably golden-haired classmates from elementary school at the front and center of our church.

From there I’d turn and look at my family all those pews away to the bashful hand signaling of my mother telling me to come back to her while trying even harder not to be noticed. Blatantly refusing I’d simply turn my head and look forward, glancing back only every other few seconds...
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Dame Pan Y Llámame Tonto

Dame Pan Y Llámame Tonto | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
We were just stupid in those days. Like ‘laugh out loud’ stupid or ‘rolling on the floor laughing’ stupid, or even about to ‘pee in my pants’ stupid. Everything was possible to us in those days. And no, we weren’t actually dumb enough to believe we could do anything we wanted to, but we knew for one reason or another, a las buenas o las malas, we could almost always make things happen or get a hold of the things we wanted, just because. We weren’t gangsters or wannabes like the other kids walking around trying to look all hard with their pants down low and their shoulders all tilted down to one side, but just by default because of where we came from, how we talked and the way we dressed, people were scared of us – probably not even scared of us, just more cautious about their surroundings when we were around. They’d clutch their purses closer, stare at us every few seconds, or just make it clear we were not welcome in their environment, which always made us want to stick around even longer...
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Una Vez Al Año No Hace Daño

Una Vez Al Año No Hace Daño | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Bags packed, to the brim, no real luggage, just cardboard boxes and duffle bags, stuffed with clothes, shoes, even a few toys; stacked inside, underneath our feet, on the roof, tied down with little more than twisted rope. In the white and blue zebra suburban with no air conditioning, a crevice of space was always left in between our luggage, just big enough for the seven of us kids to take turns resting on the 12-hour-plus summer trips from Houston to San Luis Potosi. We really couldn’t sleep back there, but it was always a little slice of heaven to be able to stretch our legs.

Up front, mom and dad, talking all the way, laughing, carrying on, entertaining us with their stories, yelling at us when we got too loud, hurrying us every restroom stop, keeping tabs on who was next to get some rest. When he’d get tired she’d pour cold water over his head. Her job was to keep him awake. In the middle seat, my two eldest sisters, both too young to drive, but old enough to keep my mother company when she was trying to keep herself and my dad awake. In the last seat, the one nearest towers of luggage, used to prop ourselves onto comforter and pillow, the rest of us taking turns laying down and sitting in between our sisters, playing, fighting, awing at the majesty of the Sierra Madre and all her splendor. When we’d get to the rancho this seat would come out to make room for the many cousins, aunts and neighbors who’d squeeze in shoulder-to-shoulder, knee-to-knee on our trips into the tiny town of Cerritos, about an hour’s drive away down a nothing-but-rock-and-dirt main road...
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El Que Quiere Puede: The Myth Of Education Only For Some

El Que Quiere Puede: The Myth Of Education Only For Some | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
So boy, don’t you turn back. / Don’t you set down on the steps / ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. / Don’t you fall now — / For I’se still goin’, honey, / I’se still climbin’, / And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. – Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

El Sueño
I discovered this poem at some point during my teenage years and from the very first time I read the words out loud, they spoke to me. Touched me. Made me feel things I’d never felt before. Like they immediately became engraved into who I was supposed to be. Even though I hadn’t the slightest clue what or who that was. And how could they not? My life till then had been nothing more than sacrifice – the sacrifices of my parents, their parents, my siblings, my cousins, my uncles, and everyone else in between.

If you didn’t work hard you’d never get ahead. That’s just the way it was. Black and white. No gray area to ponder. We knew the language. That meant we’d made it just a step ahead of everyone else – including my parents – and that was good enough. A high school diploma, as good as any four year degree! We weren’t the Tanners, the Strattons, the Bradys or even the Winslows from TV. In all honestly, we were more like the Beverly Hillbillies than anything else…except we didn’t have the millions of dollars they did from all that black gold...
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Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso

Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Okay, I know what you’re thinking! But before you go getting all offended…or excited, about my very sexy blog title this time around, let me just say IT’S NOT WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. Yes, there was a television series with this same title in very recent history, which in part was the inspiration for this post. Nevertheless the subject matter in this piece is much more PG – a big BOO for quite a few of you out there also, I know.

So what is the allure of these infamous lady lumps for us guys? All women want to know. The truth is you won’t find any scientific answers here – mainly because the most obvious reason for me is just the simple fact that we don’t have them. Plain and simple. They are something foreign to us, hidden underneath all those layers of clothing and undergarments, hidden for so many years before we actually get to explore them (eww, go ahead and let it out…it’s okay), and that in it of itself makes senos so sexy to us. We are pretty simple animals after all.

Now I am digressing!...
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Back To The Basics: My Reason For The Dichos

Back To The Basics: My Reason For The Dichos | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Something I’m beginning to understand a lot more profoundly lately. Not like the concept of Back to the Basics of many an artist who swear off all luxuries in order to return to the good old days before their fame and fortune. I’ve had neither, so I’m good in that department. More like the idea of returning to square one, examining the road behind and thinking about the many steps ahead – personally, professionally and everything in between.

A look back really at where I’ve been and where I’d like to go. The truth is there aren’t any clear answers and the more I think about it, the more stressed out I get. But that in itself is precisely the problem. My problem. Over thinking and overanalyzing everything. From what to post in a new blog, to what project or projects to focus most of my attention on at any given time. Like it or not, I’m the product of my dichos – forewarnings for almost every aspect of my life...
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In Bed And On The Dining Table, Shame Is Pretty Much Useless

In Bed And On The Dining Table, Shame Is Pretty Much Useless | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Useless in the sense that no matter how hard we may try to hide who and what we really are, the rest of the time, in our natural state – when eating and er…sleeping – the truth simply has a way of revealing itself. You know the old adage about breaking bread with someone in order to get to know who they actually are, or even the potentially less literal catch phrase: “sleeping with the enemy.” The idea that everyone has something to hide.

Or maybe just a simple reminder: accept yourself for who you are, don’t try to change to please anyone else besides yourself, and when it’s time to let it all hang out…just let it all hang out! Plain and simple. My interpretation anyway.
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¡Naranjas!

¡Naranjas! | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
No seas orgulloso, ven a saludar…
I hated these words. Every time people would come over they’d make me come out, smile, shake their hand, answer a few questions, and sit in the living room with them. To be amable, what one should always be…aside from humilde.

I really couldn’t have cared less to be either.

Yeah I’d hear my own name being called from the living room, first in speaking tone, then progressively louder, until it was a full-fledged yell, but the last thing I wanted to do was acknowledge any recognition. I was asleep, taking a shower, listening to music, reading a book, doing homework, anything to not have to come out. But then, there’d come my brothers and sisters hurry up, they’re calling you…you’re not asleep, stop acting…I’m going to tell mom…APA!! The latter would send me racing into the living room with my best fake smile on my face. ¿Apoco este es Juanito? ¡Qué gordo se está poniendo! ¿Pues que come Juanito?...
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La Muerte Es Lo Único Seguro Que Tenemos En Esta Vida

La Muerte Es Lo Único Seguro Que Tenemos En Esta Vida | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Or as Chente so famously said: lo importante no es llegar primero sino saber llegar, because in life there really aren’t any guarantees. None whatsoever. Not even the feelings inside of our hearts are guaranteed to stay the same forever.

De mocoso I wanted nothing more than to be like my big brother. He sharp and fast, beady eyes, never at ease, climbing trees, running faster than me, tougher than me, cooler than me, the one everyone always wanted to play with. Me, lanky and awkward, legs and arms not strong enough, eyes round and slow, bewildered at the world around me, not fast enough to keep up with him or my cousins. Them, playing cowboys and Indians, bank robbers and cops, chasing after one other, roughing each other up, figuring out who could take the hardest punches. Me, playing with my little brother in the sand, lost in our imaginary world of fantasy and make believe, awing at the tiny worms and snakes found underneath the surface of our dirt roads. Everywhere dad went, he went, little boots and sombrero running after him – me, much happier at home, listening to my sisters’ singing, my mother’s footsteps in and out of the house, the scent and sound of her cooking, washing clothes, giving me comfort, kneeling outside in our yard just close enough to hear everything going on inside...
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El Azul Celeste Cuesta

El Azul Celeste Cuesta | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
I’m going to tell you like my parents told me, ponte a estudiar para que no te toque trabajar como burro como nosotros! Even when the dreams seem long and far away, unattainable, silly, too damn high to ever come within reach, keep pushing, keep pulling, keep moving. In baby steps, peleando, arrastrándote a ti mismo si es necesario. Not looking for the easy way out. There is none.

If you don’t believe me, go out there, make your mistakes, fall flat, get up, do it again, and again, and again. Keep fooling yourself, believing your day will come one day. If it does, count your blessings y ponte las pilas. Sino, be humble enough to find another way.

Circumstances, bad luck, misfortune, tragedia. Mijo, sadly, these are challenges and obstacles we don’t control. Yo que más quisiera, quebrarme la espalda con tal de que tú no sufrieras ni un poquito. Pero la vida es así, cruel e injusta...
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La Basura De Unos Es El Tesoro De Otros

La Basura De Unos Es El Tesoro De Otros | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Inspired by a gringa named Sra. Lopez who runs one of the most compelling Hispanic-interest blogs on the World Wide Web (www.Latinaish.com), centered on her life as a Caucasian-Latina, I had to write about our obsession as Latinos with being frugal and always finding deals wherever we go, at least in my world. Her latest post, If they buy it, sell it, pues, explored her suegra’s overzealous joy with receiving trash bags full of used clothing and how she finds a use for everything inside, even the lingerie.

A very entertaining read like most things blogged about by Sra. Lopez.

Plus it got me thinking about my own madrecita who coincidentally has very good luck with garage sales all the time. You could ride in the same car with her, stop and shop at all of the same houses, and spend the exact same amount of money, and she would still come back with more and better things than you, literally. The used pairs of shoes, 50 cents each, electronics past their prime yet still in working condition, furniture, items of clothing, or whatever else, there is a science to the way she shops. Not for herself or the luxury of shopping, but for others and for business. Like la gringa’s suegra, she gives away whatever can be recycled within her circle of family and friends and sells the rest, here and in Mexico. In fact, her garage sales have garnered quite the reputation in Cerritos, San Luis Potosi for offering quality items at the cost of just a few pesos. People even place orders with her now...
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El Que Busca, Encuentra

El Que Busca, Encuentra | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
Or so I am hoping…after months of agonizing over my personal battle of the bulge, embarrassing side effects and all, including increasingly larger love handles (a.k.a. lonjas or lonjitas) and diminishing levels of energy, I’ve decided to get off my butt and do something about it! More accurately, after having the youngest of my four sisters bet me that I would not be able to lose weight again.

Again because six years ago this same battle was fought and won by me, hands down…Back then my weight was just five pounds more than what it is today, although the distribution of fat was not as proportional as it is today, thank God for that, and I was in much worse overall shape. Still, through a self-paced regimen of better eating and constant exercise I managed to lose exactly 100 pounds in 12 months, which I kept off for roughly three years, until I began gaining again for some reason...
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Lo Prometido Es Deuda

Lo Prometido Es Deuda | Dichos y Refranes | Scoop.it
It is! No matter how we paint it. There is something about making a promise that makes our word official. A challenge almost to the authenticity of our intentions: whether we are genuinely committing or merely amusing ourselves with false words. And truth be told, there is nothing worse than feeling we’ve been lied to, taken advantage of, ridiculed and made to feel like a fool. To the extreme that very rarely will someone who engages in making false promises be taken seriously, by anyone.

On the flip side there’s is also nothing worse than not being able to keep our word.

No eres hombre de palabra / You are not a man of your word! How many of us have not felt the sting of that statement? Yet the reality is, be it by circumstances within or beyond our control, on certain occasions we just aren’t able to follow through with the things we’ve committed to, no matter how much we may or may not want to...
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