Archive for January, 2014

Faulty stars

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by runmyssierun

Training in bipolar weather is an adventure. One day it’s 80 degrees and the next day our streets are closed off because of black ice. Makes it difficult for scheduling bike rides or group runs. So on Sunday evening when the sun danced in a cloudless sky, I took the chance to run the trails in Mission. I normally run the 2nd street trail because it’s usually filled with familiar runners… but that’s usually at the crack of dawn. And it was already late in the afternoon.

I took the chance and went to the afternoon runner hangout, Mission Trails. I plugged in my playlist.. a new one.. err old one that I hadn’t really listened to since I was a teenager. It didn’t really have the bpm that I was striving for but honestly I had been sick for a while with congestion and had missed a few days of running so I didn’t know if I could/should push myself into a high bpm and wear myself out and/or get myself even worse.

Kinda cool what a few days of rest does for your body. It was my fastest time in a little over a year. My pace went from an embarrassing 13-some minute mile to a 7:41. I don’t know if it was the rest, the music, the new trail or the thoughts in my head… whatevs… I’ll take it. I did a nice warm up mile and then went full blast into my 7-minute mile. After I saw what I did, I was pretty dang proud and then it happened… squirrel. When I’m at a new place, I’m like a big ol’ kid and have to explore and heaven forbid there be a sign that tells me not to go into a certain area. That’s like a big fancy wedding invitation to me!!! With the exploring into the trails, my time went down a bit but boy oh boy was it fun getting lost!!

My swimming, my running and my cycling have all improved and I’m stoked to begin my new season with Team in Training Triathlon team – the first tri team for tnt in our area! I love my coaching staff. I’ve seen them in action and have already trained with them. Phenomenal in action, genuine encouragement and humble in deed. These are traits that I prosper with and that I’ve seen others do incredibly well, too.

We had our first “kick-off” this weekend and was really impressed with the alumni and newbies that signed up for the challenge. It was a great mix of experienced athletes and excited rookies but all had an immense internal need to do all they could to fight cancer. This was especially evident when our two honored heroes were continuously greeted with hugs and kisses and showered with gifts and goodie bags.

See, the little known incredible fact about MY honored heroes is that they really ARE super heroes. Superman was an animated comic. And as awesome as he was written up to be… kryptonite could still take him down. But MY heroes can run a marathon, can beat cancer and are NOT imaginary comic strips (although they are both very animated). They are both very very real people fighting a very very real enemy to the human race and planet Earth.

In ancient Greece, they looked up to the stars and honored gods that controlled various elements of our world. Today, we can look up to the stars and know that the rest of our heroes have full control of our hearts and empower us with passion enough to change the world. They are our angels.

Today, I think those angels came back to my training schedule. In a time where many parts of our nation and even my city closed because of the unusually fierce cold weather, not a single gust of wind blew this morning. The temperatures went up a few degrees making a bike ride bearable. While it was still a bit chilly compared to our normal temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley, it was no where near what it was like yesterday. Only one other brave soul joined me in the 5 a.m. Wake Up Ride. I’m sure word will soon spread about my weather angels. So long as I continue to do this in their honor and memory, I have full faith that they will ensure a safe and comfortable outdoor workout.

And to make today even more special… I was greeted with a note from a former co-worker and advertising client.

I hope she doesn’t mind but I have to share her words with you.

“Because, you have been such an inspiration to me, and I absolutely think you are truly one of the most truthful and motivational people I know, I would love to have 10% of the ticket proceeds for the McAllen retreat to sponsor you.”

Her kind gesture and donation meant so much to me today because just yesterday I was told that another co-worker (from a different job) had been spreading a malicious rumor about me. The contradiction was pretty amazing. P.S. I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people and I’ve worked with a few crazies … Hasn’t everyone?

It used to be that malicious rumors ran rampant around me at all times by this same group of similar people who (coincidentally?) all run within the same circles of friends. However, now… for every rumor that comes back around to my ears about me, I have ten compliments and kind gestures that muffle and discredit that rumor.

I feel validated in my efforts to give of myself to others. I feel like for all that I do, for all that I sacrifice, that the Big Guy upstairs really IS taking care of me and rewarding me tenfold. You do something nice for someone and someone else will ruin you for it… But God will reward.

I really need to find out about the next ACTs retreat. It’s time.

Oh! Aaaannnnnndddd…. I was asked to sit on the Board of the Rio Grande Valley Colonoscopy Assistance Program. Our first fundraiser is a 5k on March 1 at Fireman’s park in McAllen. I am so honored to have been asked!!!! 🙂

THIS IS HUGE!

My training is working. My fundraising is coming into place. I’m getting recognized for my efforts in my community. I’m gaining support. And people are getting the help that they need!!!!

***Okay? Okay.
#thefaultinourstars

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Broken Crown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by runmyssierun

I recently cleaned out EVERYTHING in the house, the garage, the attic, every closet, etc… and found a lot of things, too many things, that took me to places I had tucked away in my memory. You know that popular hashtag going around social media? #throwbackthursday? Ya, well, this is too much for just a Thursday. In fact, if you combined all the Thursdays in a year, it would still lack enough space to handle these memories.

Lots of good ones… a few bad.

I’m a little embarrassed that I had been a packrat all these years but in a way, so very grateful, too. I made a lot of mistakes in my younger years that I thought I had learned from but for some odd reason was making those very same mistakes once again. Remembering all this reminded me of those mistakes and those lessons and how they pertained to me now.

  • Mistake #1: Being too shy
  • Mistake #2: Feeling like no one understood me
  • Mistake #3: Wishing

But what stood out the most to me was that I was really a good kid, a good teenager, a good young adult, a good adult and a good parent… I just made a few mistakes was all. A few bad choices, some naive misunderstandings and lack of experience should not have made me or anyone else think less of me. So after this lengthy introduction, here’s what I’m getting at: I didn’t need to change my shyness. Being shy is who I am. Feeling like I wasn’t understood by anyone was just my misunderstanding. In fact, I am sure that many of you reading this right this very second can relate to what I was feeling.  And there was absolutely nothing wrong with wishing… I just needed to make a plan to make those wishes come true. I simply needed to grow, experience and open my heart… not change.

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My parents spent a lot of their time with me and Donny whenever they could. They taught me all that they knew about the importance of family and God and education and work ethic and how you spend your time and who you choose to spend it with. And some how some way, my parents made each lesson jam packed with fun and happiness every single time.

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up – especially in my teenaged years. Donny and I went to a very good private Catholic school (I went all the way from 1st to 9th grade and Donny went from 1st to 5th grade). They struggled to pay the tuition each month and used uniforms each year but they got by. We didn’t have air conditioning or cable or were able to go on summer vacations but we were together and happy. We took weekend trips to Bentsen park and camped out in tents and made s’mores and fished in the river with fishing rods made from tree limbs and bait made from squished up bread on hooks we found along the river bend that others had thrown away.

Amazing that we didn’t have to worry about stepping on those rusty old hooks and spending the weekend in the emergency room getting tetanus shots! Or snakes or illegal aliens crossing over from Mexico hiding in the bushes or coyotes (both kinds) or… cancer.

We could wake up on a bright sunny Saturday morning, watch Looney Tunes and drive away for an hour to South Padre Island with a foam ice chest filled with a big chilled watermelon, cheese sandwiches and bags of doritos and not have to worry about Chemo.

Momma taught me that if I wanted something bad enough, I had to work hard for it. They provided me with enough food to nourish me, clothes to cover me, a house to call a home and love to encourage me. I worked odd job after odd job, many times working at several places at the same time so that I could get my first pair of designer jeans, pay for gas in my car and books for college. I never had to worry about invoices totalling thousands of dollars from MD Anderson every month.

And as I was flipping through all the photos, cards, receipts and memorabilia of yesteryear, my eyes were led to one very special memory. In order for you to get the point of it, I’ll have to set the mood and history for you.

I spent a lot of time alone, grounded, in my room growing up.  *Not because I was a bad kid or anything but I think my parents figured out that it was cheaper to find an excuse to ground me than to give me money to go to the movies or play video games on the weekends and they never had the heart to tell me they couldn’t give me money. I would sit on the ledge of my window sill and write in my diary, read the Outsiders over and over again, listen to records and practice smiling in the mirror or curling and braiding my hair and day dream. I was that awkward girl that shot up taller than everyone else in 6th grade (but then stopped growing). I walked with my head down and hardly spoke a word to anyone so when I gave my heart to a boy for the first time and experienced my first heartbreak, Momma was there.

“Don’t let someone keep your heart if they want someone else’s heart,” she said calmly as she was driving making a left turn from 4th street to Sprague. I remember this as if it happened minutes ago. My eyes were focused straight at the stop light. I never looked at her. I never said a thing to her. She hadn’t seen me cry. She didn’t know what had happened or at least I didn’t think she did but clearly now I can tell that she knew. She must have seen the heartbreak in my face. It must be a “Mom” thing.

After speaking to the “Metamorphosis” group of empowered young ladies and listening to some of their challenges (broken families, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, drugs, gangs, grades, homelessness, rape, cancer), it hit me suddenly how I remember being that young and thinking how destroyed I felt when I thought I couldn’t talk to someone because I was so shy or that I thought no one understood what I was feeling or that my wishes would always be doomed to just daydreams in my head. Everything I went through gave me lessons and strength to be able to better cope with the increasingly more complex tribulations of life. As a teen, I experienced everything they experienced. They continue to contact me – and it thrills me to no end – to talk about dreams and mapping out plans to transform those wishes into goals.

One girl, I won’t say her name, reminded me soooooo much of myself. She never said a word. When I asked her a question, she blushed and looked down and to the left and hid under her long mane of hair… just like I used to. She was the first to find me and request me on a social media site. Still hasn’t said a word… but just like my mom knew something was up on that drive home when my heart was broken for the first time.. I know that little girl like I know myself. And I think she’s going to go further than she ever imagined. And I want to be there when it happens.

I am shy by nature but I work on my shyness when the event calls for it. I struggle with public speaking and simply just talking to someone I don’t know yet and it is difficult for me to expose my true self and experiences to others and it’s REALLY hard to ask people for donations… but it’s important for them to know and for me to let it out and to get over that fear. So I don’t change.. I just improve on myself a bit more and a bit more each time and am constantly working on my communication skills because of this. I’ll admit that my first instinct still tells me that no one understands me and the only ones who truly get me are inanimate music lyrics of favorite tunes but once I take that little step back, talk about it to a few trusted friends or even let it out on this blog, the responses that I get tell me that my problems, my emotions and my reactions are no different from so many others out there. I am a dreamer. I kind of like that about me. I hope that never changes because my dreams are big… gargantuan, in fact. But now I can take that dream and figure out a way to make that dream come true. Seriously, whodathought I’d be where I’m at now? Gotta hand it to me, I’ve had a hellovalife! And my dreams aren’t over yet. I’m just getting started.

So as I was emptying that last box in the garage and saw my old pageant crown crushed into pieces under all those memories, I cried just a little bit, regained my composure, smiled a little and continued on. After all, there is a kingdom I still reign over and a sunset I plan to ride off into. A broken crown won’t stop me. It never has.

Never give up on your dreams. Don’t change for anyone but improve on those flaws that stop you from achieving your best you.

 

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Sole Survivor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by runmyssierun

I spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with over 200 young ladies at a nearby local high school. The organizer had called me up after receiving some recommendations from the other speakers she had lined up that week as well. The week long seminar was designed to empower these young female students with leadership and life skills by providing a personal testimony of our own examples and an inspiring speech. Honestly, I was floored.

Me? Wow!

The topics divided up into the various days were: education and awareness, physical and mental fitness, health and beauty

I had a blast. Of course, I got choked up when I spoke to the girls about a few parts but made sure to emphasize the silver lining of it all… after all, it was supposed to be an inspiring talk – not a sob story and not a braggart story – but a story that told them that there will be times in your life when you’ll be knocked down to rock bottom and you’ll have to find the courage within yourself to get yourself back up. It’s a story about hope, determination, love, stewardship, sacrifice and faith. And when someone say’s that you can’t do something, turn around and tell them “watch me”.

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I was a little —- no—- I was really very very very nervous in the beginning. I feel so much more comfortable typing my feelings and experiences on a computer rather that talking about them under a spotlight in front of a couple hundred strangers staring at me. But I needed to say it out loud. To them. For me.

I cried. I warned them about my crying even before I started so I guess I was covered on that but I cried a lot. There was one time that I had to stop, wipe my tears and take a few deep breaths… I’m sure the silence was awkward for them. And I managed to  struggle through with two ovations to boot!

My story was unique in that it touched each one of the topics over the several days. My story was NOT unique in that EVERY speaker began the same way and ended the same way and each of us stressed to the girls that no matter what adversity life gives you, keep going after your dream.

“The question is not Who’s going to let me. It is Who is going to STOP ME!”

There was a defining point in my speech where all their eyes were fixated on me. Come to think of it… It was quite the defining point in my life as well.

It wasn’t planned that way, at least no one told me about it if it was, but each speaker began their speech with “I am no different from you. I am not any more special than you.” We were all from this community. We were all from humble upbringings. We all had similar values – family, education, God, health, community. We had all been given opportunities at one point or another and it took sacrifice to receive those opportunities. We had all had a visit and tour around rock bottom. We all lived to tell the tale. And we all did pretty good for ourselves.

Sound familiar? Maybe a little like you?

Good!

I know my story has a lot of death in it. I try very hard to let people know about the experience of death, witnessing it, dealing with it and doing all you can to move forward through it in a healthy way without making it sound like I’m dwelling on it.  Yes, it has been very very difficult but I also had to remember that I have two boys that still need me healthy, happy and alive for them. So when people connect to my story, I know deep inside that they have a rock bottom experience as well. That’s when I turn it on.

One girl raised her hand to ask a question but immediately got incredibly timid when I asked her to repeat it because I couldn’t hear her. She repeated it again but even softer and then shook her head and said “nevermind”.

I knew immediately… this was an important question. So, I didn’t back down. I stayed there until she said the question aloud again for everyone to hear. It was important for everyone to hear this. No question was silly, stupid or unworthy… especially this one.

“After all you went through, did you go to therapy?”

My reply was:

“Yes, I went to therapy. I still go to therapy. Running has become my therapy. There are some days when I train in groups for events. And there are some days when I run by myself for this very reason. I need to be alone with my thoughts, with myself and I pray when I run. It’s ok to feel sad sometimes. But we HAVE to find it within ourselves to get ourselves out of it and find happiness again.”  I wish you could have seen their faces when I told them it was ok to feel sad sometimes. It was as if I had given them permission to be normal.

It’s been proven that physical exercise helps us cope and reduce our stress levels.  Clearly I could have gone the other way and fallen quickly into the rabbit hole of depression. But I didn’t. Running saved me. Team in Training saved me.

I am a sole survivor.

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own "impossible goals" that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own “impossible goals” that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

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I lost my best friend to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma just a few months before he was to walk with me down the isle at my wedding. His name was Rodney Perez. He bravely battled cancer for 5 years. He died at age 24.

I lost my grandmother, Lorenza “Lencha” Cavazos and grandfather, Narciso Cavazos to Leukemia.

I lost my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, not from cancer but from what cancer does to loved ones and caregivers… what no one talks about, the stress that the family deals with while caring for their loved ones like financial stress and emotional stress. He felt he had to take on this burden by himself. He dealt by eating all the wrong things, drinking, locking himself up from the world. He had a heart attack at age 38.

I lost my Aunt Sissy – the woman who raised me while mom worked and went back to school. Leukemia stole her from us and her three years of retirement that she worked all her life for.

I lost my beautiful close friend Jana Miller. A brilliant doctor, fun loving and kind hearted. She was diagnosed at stage IV during her 3rd year of med school. She finished, practiced and became an active member of the community. Few people knew she lived ten years with cancer. Her smile fooled everyone.

I lost my Momma. On Easter of this last year. Exactly one year after we lost my baby brother Donny. Eight months after losing her sister Sissy.

I’m sorry. I still can’t talk about my Momma.

I joined Team in Training because I thought that if the world and God saw how hard I was trying to do this impossible run… then maybe, just maybe, the world and God would make the impossible cure possible.

And when I ran my first full marathon in San Diego, just a couple of months after my Momma died, a woman yelled at me – when I wanted to quit – I was at mile 22 – she said “You are running for the treatment that has kept me alive! Please, don’t stop!”

Thats when I understood that hundreds, thousands of strangers for years before this had run for the treatment that allowed my mother to spend 6 more years with me, 3 more years with Sissy, 10 more years with Jana.

So I close with what I’ve had posted on my facebook over this last year…

I never ran to try to beat your time

I ran because I tried to buy my mom more time

I ran so that I could help find a cure

I ran so that I could help my mom pay for that cure

It didn’t work out the way I had planned

Now I run so that you don’t have to go

through what my mom and I did.

See, the thing is that I first thought I was running for a cure for my Momma.

I had no idea that Team in Training would be a part of MY cure.

 

Thank you

 

My gift box of darkness

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2014 by runmyssierun

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An old friend and former co-worker of mine had tagged me on this post. It got me really thinking about my box of darkness…

I thought about all that she had witnessed me go through over all these years in different circumstances and I thought about all she had gone through as well.

We all have those dark gifts that have knocked us down in our lives. But what really matters is how our light continues to shine in all those dark blessings.

Some people will always try to dim my/your light. Don’t let them.

Let your light shine.

Getting felt up for breast cancer

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2014 by runmyssierun

This morning I had my mammogram. I have to admit that I am quite nervous about it. There is still this black cloud of doom that seems to follow me around and a part of me that still thinks that it’s just a matter of time before cancer will try to get me, too. Waiting around for the next 10 days for the results to be sent back to me will most definitely be agonizing.

I tried with all my might to act casual around the nurse who was tending to me but let’s face it… My face, my mannerisms, my everything shows all over me!!!! It is so easy for people to read me!!!

I have a tendency to make jokes of a situation when I’m nervous like I was so thank goodness I was getting texts from friends the whole time who understood my inner personality and played along.

I mean… Really… Do they honestly think when they tell you to “relax your shoulders and lean in” while they grab your boob and smack it onto a cold slab of machinery and squish it like play-doh and command you to hold your other boob out of the way that there aren’t any emotions going through our heads? Come on! That’s borderline foreplay!!! And if that’s the case, at least dim the lights to better set the mood. Just saying…

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Shhhhh!!!! Don’t tell anyone else this secret!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2014 by runmyssierun

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Good bye David

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 21, 2014 by runmyssierun

“Don’t confuse what you have not done with what you cannot do.” Adolfo Chavez, Dezma’s grandfather

Just because you’ve never done something doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be done.  I think too many of us get boxed into thinking that our past experiences control our current limitations. For example, let’s play fill in the blank.

I will never be able to (a.)_______ because I have never (b.)_______. 

Wrong. It’s because you never made the decision to make it important enough to make (b.) an opportunity for you to experience. It’s never too late. 

For this blog, I can use: (a.) run a marathon (b.) been good at running/being a good runner

But you can substitute any situation  you are dealing with here.

A. get a college education B. finished high school

A. travel the world B. left my hometown to travel/traveled

A. afford (insert any expensive material item) B. learned to save

A. beat cancer B. tried

It’s amazing how far the human limits get pushed when consistent effort is made.

I have witnessed so much transformation in myself and in those around me these last couple of years. I would never have guessed that I could do so much, that we could go so far and that together… there is no end to what we can do even after we live our lives.

The hardest part about this promise that I’ve given my mother and Sissy is that as I continue run in this journey to beat cancer, I’ve met and befriended some phenomenal people who have been touched by cancer and struggle tremendously with it. Just recently, the most awful thought crossed my mind.

“Why haven’t I met a complete JERK that has cancer?”

Everyone I have met that has been affected by cancer has been someone of sincere heart, humble foundations, generous unconditional love and resounding courage. Which is why it continues to open my wounds when cancer steals the lives of these new friends I have made.

Last night my heart broke when I  heard the news of David Mendez’s passing. He was my honored Hero last season with Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I’ve spoken of him several times in this blog and honestly could not catch my breath as the thought sunk into my head of him no longer being with us. I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon last year in San Francisco with his girlfriend, Vero. And that’s when I just lost it… the thought of what she was going through, what his daughters were going through… it’s not right. It’s just not right.

David’s obituary spoke of his extraordinary life and impact on the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and his love of fishing along the Arroyo and the bay of the Gulf of Mexico. It also had a request from his family. They asked that everyone who attends David’s services wear something yellow because it was his favorite color.

All day I saw posts from fellow TNT teammates talk about the miles of running that they put in today in David’s memory. I did something a little bit different. I swam an hour and a half with a yellow swim cap, yellow hand paddles, yellow fins in the water that he so loved. Because I know personally how my mother lit up with her favorite color orange, I can imagine that David had the same feeling with his favorite color. When we know there is little that we can do, we search for the things that make our loved ones who are hurting happy with all that could possibly fill them with joy. Sometimes just a color is enough. So that’s what I did.

I won’t be able to attend his funeral because that is the same time I’ll be the keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Metamorphosis: Female Student Empowerment Week. 

Its very frustrating for me to know there is still so little that I can do. I wish I could more. I wish there was no more cancer. I wish cancer picked jerks instead these wonderful people.

David is telling Lil Sarah, "You're going to be okay." They are both fighting cancer. I heard every word and snapped the picture. What a blessing to capture. Love it!!

David is telling Lil Sarah, “You’re going to be okay.” They are both fighting cancer. I heard every word and snapped the picture. What a blessing to capture. Love it!!

David Mendez, 52, beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend entered into eternal rest on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at his residence in Arroyo City, Texas, surrounded by his loving family after a valiant battle against lymphoma.  A native and lifetime resident of Brownsville, David was well-known not only in Brownsville but across the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas due to his talents as an architect. David was a partner with Gomez, Mendez, and Saenz, a distinguished architectural firm known throughout the Valley and State. David’s name can be found all across the Valley and State on the countless schools and buildings that he worked on. David was proud to have served as the President of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. David’s accomplishments and community involvement are too numerous to mention as he was quite active not only in Brownsville but throughout Cameron County serving on different boards. In his spare time, David was an avid outdoorsman whose passion was fishing, which is why he drove in from Arroyo City where he lived every day. That passion for fishing, led him to establish the Hooked for Life Kids Gone Fishing Foundation several years ago. David strongly believed in the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  David was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed not only by his family and friends but by all those who were fortunate to have known him. David was preceded in death by his loving mother, Esperanza Hinojosa Mendez; a brother, Roberto Mendez, Jr.; and a nephew, Nicolas “Nico” Benavides. Left behind to eternally treasure their memories of him is his father, Roberto C. Mendez; the daughters that were his pride and joy, Erica (Jamie Figueroa) Mendez and Ashley (Andres Guerrero) Mendez; the granddaughter that was the apple of his eye, Natalie Hope Guerrero; his sisters and brother, Margie (Felipe) Beltran, Yvette (Juan) Rey, Monica (Rudy) Buitureira, Cesar (Nancy) Mendez, and Yolanda (Rafael) Leal. David will also be missed by his nieces and nephews, Bobby Beltran, Miguel Rey, Rico (Amy) Benavidez, Vanessa Beltran, Monique Rey, Alejandra Mendez, Brianna Buitureira, Carolina Mendez, Bianca Buitureira, and Cesar Daniel Mendez; two great-nephews, Brandon Rico and Bradley Benavidez; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members.  Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, and continue through 4:00 p.m. Visitation will resume at 5:00 p.m. and continue through 9:00 p.m. with the recitation of the holy rosary scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 555 West St. Francis St., Brownsville. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at St. Joseph’s. All services will conclude after the Mass and in accordance with David’s wishes, cremation will follow. David’s favorite color was yellow. The family respectfully requests that you wear something in any shade of yellow to the services.  Rene Capistran, Rudy Gomez, Joey Lopez, Dr. Ruben M. Torres Jr., M.D., Joe Touchet, and Manny Vasquez are honored to be serving as David’s pallbearers. David’s brother, Cesar; his brothers-in-law, Felipe, Juan, and Rudy along with Roan Gomez, Isaac Ochoa, Rolando Borrayo, Johnny Rodriguez, Dr. Nolan Perez, Manny Vela, and the Hooked for Life Executive and Advisory Boards will serve as honorary pallbearers.  In lieu of flowers and in keeping with David’s passion for fishing, memorial gifts in David’s name may be made to the foundation he started: Hooked for Life, 1800 E. Van Buren Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520.

David Mendez, 52, beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend entered into eternal rest on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at his residence in Arroyo City, Texas, surrounded by his loving family after a valiant battle against lymphoma.
A native and lifetime resident of Brownsville, David was well-known not only in Brownsville but across the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas due to his talents as an architect. David was a partner with Gomez, Mendez, and Saenz, a distinguished architectural firm known throughout the Valley and State. David’s name can be found all across the Valley and State on the countless schools and buildings that he worked on. David was proud to have served as the President of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
David’s accomplishments and community involvement are too numerous to mention as he was quite active not only in Brownsville but throughout Cameron County serving on different boards. In his spare time, David was an avid outdoorsman whose passion was fishing, which is why he drove in from Arroyo City where he lived every day. That passion for fishing, led him to establish the Hooked for Life Kids Gone Fishing Foundation several years ago. David strongly believed in the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
David was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed not only by his family and friends but by all those who were fortunate to have known him.
David was preceded in death by his loving mother, Esperanza Hinojosa Mendez; a brother, Roberto Mendez, Jr.; and a nephew, Nicolas “Nico” Benavides.
Left behind to eternally treasure their memories of him is his father, Roberto C. Mendez; the daughters that were his pride and joy, Erica (Jamie Figueroa) Mendez and Ashley (Andres Guerrero) Mendez; the granddaughter that was the apple of his eye, Natalie Hope Guerrero; his sisters and brother, Margie (Felipe) Beltran, Yvette (Juan) Rey, Monica (Rudy) Buitureira, Cesar (Nancy) Mendez, and Yolanda (Rafael) Leal. David will also be missed by his nieces and nephews, Bobby Beltran, Miguel Rey, Rico (Amy) Benavidez, Vanessa Beltran, Monique Rey, Alejandra Mendez, Brianna Buitureira, Carolina Mendez, Bianca Buitureira, and Cesar Daniel Mendez; two great-nephews, Brandon Rico and Bradley Benavidez; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members.
Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, and continue through 4:00 p.m. Visitation will resume at 5:00 p.m. and continue through 9:00 p.m. with the recitation of the holy rosary scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 555 West St. Francis St., Brownsville. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at St. Joseph’s. All services will conclude after the Mass and in accordance with David’s wishes, cremation will follow. David’s favorite color was yellow. The family respectfully requests that you wear something in any shade of yellow to the services.
Rene Capistran, Rudy Gomez, Joey Lopez, Dr. Ruben M. Torres Jr., M.D., Joe Touchet, and Manny Vasquez are honored to be serving as David’s pallbearers. David’s brother, Cesar; his brothers-in-law, Felipe, Juan, and Rudy along with Roan Gomez, Isaac Ochoa, Rolando Borrayo, Johnny Rodriguez, Dr. Nolan Perez, Manny Vela, and the Hooked for Life Executive and Advisory Boards will serve as honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers and in keeping with David’s passion for fishing, memorial gifts in David’s name may be made to the foundation he started: Hooked for Life, 1800 E. Van Buren Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520.

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