The Life Equation

A couple of years ago, I injured my shoulder surfing and was not able to surf for several weeks. I continued going to the beach and took photos instead while my body healed. I remembered watching the local high school surf team this day as they shouted, laughed, and scored really great waves during a winter swell. What stood out the most was watching some students stylin’ on cheap foam boards that are sold at the local Costco.

I heard a preacher on the radio say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I have heard this saying recycled and re-quoted many times in different forms like, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but is it not true? Anything “awesome” or “epic” usually depends on how you participated in it. The kids who surfed with the foam boards were carving out waves as good as the other kids who had boards that cost 10 times more.

Times have changed and now people reject sound wisdom and will react with, “What if I don’t like lemonade?” and “Why am I getting lemonade when those people get Arnold Palmer’s?”  The victim card is way overplayed nowadays. It is time to put that card down and take that 10% of crap that has been thrown your way and turn it into fertilizer for the 90%. Grow something. Change something. Overcoming obstacles in life is not easy nor comfortable. Stop wasting energy on leveling the playing field and just play. If all you have is that cheap foam board, then use it and make it awesome. The 90% is yours.

The Importance of Doing the Mundane

Almost every time I come to this beach before the sun comes up, I watch this man in his tractor level the sand on the beach. It seems like an mundane thing to do. He goes from one end of the beach to the other in his rolling machine turning the bumpy beach into a smooth one and stopping every once in a while to pick up a beer bottle or large object. My friends and I reaped the benefits of an easy walk through the beach to surf for a couple of hours. We didn’t have to worry about stepping on trash that the previous beachgoers left behind because of this man’s work.

The word ‘mundane’ is usually used in a negative context, yet the the dictionary says that it relates to the ordinary and commonplace. We all have the mundane every day tasks that we have to do at work and home. That could be taking out the trash. That could be reading the revised employee’s handbook. That could be leveling the beach. Keep in mind that as we consistently complete the ordinary tasks that we have to do day in and day out, most likely someone is going to benefit and even if that person is you. Someone is going to get to walk on the sand you just smoothed out.

Speaking of the mundane, I listen to music while doing chores to help the time go by. Which genre of music you like to listen to when you are tackling your to-do list? Share below and thanks for reading.

Blue vs. Red

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Blue vs. Red
Diametrically opposed
We want it our way
Even if it comes to blows

I’m on the right side of history
So it’s my way or the highway
Not only will I school you
But I’ll also make you pay

Wait a minute!
Is this what we have become?
Sworn enemies for life
Wishing death to some?

Who don’t agree with us
Nor sing the same tune?
We easily call them foes
And insult them as buffoons?

Isn’t unity better
To agree to disagree?
Listening to one another
Knowing it’s not all about me?

If you take some steps back
You’ll see that it was really a trap
To allow the ones on top
To take the best and leave us with the crap

To fight over and ruin
What we worked hard to build
To destroy close bonds
We allowed hatred to kill

Peace at all costs
That should be the goal
Building up one another
And valuing the soul

Optimism to a fault
If no one will follow
Yet the alternative is bleak
And our world will be left hallow

This world we can fix
Our words must change course
And choose life over death
Leaving our world better; not worse.

I am disappointed as member of our adult generation. We refuse to see beyond the rhetoric (is it even rhetoric anymore?) as our children watch and learn as we hurl insults at each other and end relationships based on political views. That’s not what we taught them. Actually, that is what we are teaching them right now; that it’s ok to hide our prejudices behind self-righteousness, and it’s ok to harm people and property when our world is not aligned like we think it should be. Our younger generation deserves better. Don’t you agree?

Advice for Hearts

A word to the young,
Yours can be fooled
Usually when you’re foolish
Reckless and never ruled.

A word to those who are gray,
Before you lay to rest
Stop pining for yesterdays
And make today your best.

A word for the lonely,
Don’t be offended by my tone
Sharing your journey is a choice
So is staying alone.

A word to the lost,
Open your eyes
And commit to find your way
Instead of living on lies.

A word to those who are filled,
Help us sift the truth from the tales
Warn us about chasing after empty dreams
And remind us that love never fails.

The journey is not alone

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”~Ernest Hemingway

Many of you will agree that the journey is what counts the most. This is a consistent theme, yet I can still get so consumed with the destination that I forget that it is what happens in the process that makes me who I am.

When I took this picture of a young man walking his mother to a wedding ceremony, I was reminded that we don’t do this journey alone. People’s journeys and destinies are tied to mine. The ones most affected by my journey are the ones I lead, that is, my family.  I set the direction. I set the pace. I define the boundaries. I speak the dreams. I share the victories and the disappointments.

Many parents have dreams for their children to become a wildly successful lives as adults. Let’s not forget that it’s the process that happens on the way to the destination that makes the child become who he is.

Remind everyone on the journey with you that it really is the journey that matters, in the end.

Get some “Alone Time.”


This man managed to be left alone to his thoughts while looking out at the infinite expanse of the ocean and sky. He seemed so content. Fishing like this looks very therapeutic. What is your version of fishing?

If you don’t have a version of fishing find something that you like to do. For some parents, the only alone time is hiding in the bathroom from the kids to catch up on the FaceBook feed. Sorry, that doesn’t qualify as alone time. If you cannot get out, put all the kids to bed (another reason to have a clearly defined lights out time) then find a place that can be your space in the home, and play on one of those Sudoko puzzle books you can get at the grocery store. Do something that gets to you to unwind, relax, and smile.

Play a guitar, ride a bike. If your budget is tiny, then walk. Are you creative? Break out the drawing paper and pencils. Do whatever it takes. I’m on a device or a computer most of the day, so I say do something that requires you to put that phone down. It may be difficult for most folks to fish multiple times during the week. Maybe this dude in the picture only gets out once in a while, but who knows. He might have his own Sudoku.

My computer seemed laggy a couple of days ago. I restarted the thing, and it was back to being snappy and responsive. Getting rest and doing something to unwind is like a restart. Getting your “me” time will help you lead your family. What is your version of fishing?

Recycle your childhood memories

“Innocence is the very essence of childhood and pure, unfiltered freedom is its reward. Joyful screams mixed with laughter are the evidence leaving us with snapshots of hope and promise.”

Recycle those fond memories from childhood with your children. It is tempting to just sit in the beach chair and Instagram away under the umbrella the whole time while the kids play, but the memory-making moment is in the interaction.

Are you pulling the seaweed onto the shore for the kids to play with it? Are you joining in the hunt for the rarest sea shell? Are you filling the buckets with ocean water to fill in the holes the kids are digging? Are you digging the holes with them?

The new memories your children make don’t have to be carbon copies of your own (who remembers carbon copies?) but you can facilitate the new ones because of your experience.

Just some thoughts for the weekend. Enjoy yours and make some memories.

Family Bonding Time

Most of the best memories from childhood we ones that we shared with family and friends. Don’t you agree? It is important to facilitate and share moments with your children.

Here’s some thoughts:

  • Don’t waste the time doing selfies of yourself sharing your moment. Get into the moment instead of telling all your FaceBook friends about the moment. You can post that stuff later.
  • If you are doing something that doesn’t work out, don’t lose heart. That picnic bbq lunch you burned or the gingerbread house that fell apart usually provides great memories and laughs afterwards.
  • Lots of great moments happen throughout the normal daily routine. You still need to plan activities.
  • Don’t let a small budget discourage you. I Google searched “free family activities” and found this article titled, “Free Family Fun” http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/free-family-fun/
  • Quantity leads to quality. Planning and facilitating times your family can do an activity together will lead to good times.
  • Photograph, video, or collect something from the activity. For example, if you’re at a park, pick up a leaf.

Go beyond documenting the event. Create a photo album. If not physically, at least digitally. Make a scrapbook. It has to be accessible for the family to look at. Give your family the opportunities to be able to reflect and connect to your family history. I keep a 12-old video camera under the tv. About once or twice a year we connect the camera to the tv to watch at least an hour of old footage. The kids couldn’t believe all the crazy noises they made as babies. My wife and I couldn’t believe how much younger we looked.

Spending time together takes not only some planning but commitment as well. Family activities have a lot of benefits as you already know. Those times also give your children the space to know you not only as a parent but as a person as well. Those times also give you to the space to know your child as a person too.

Got thoughts? Insight? Tips? Questions? Comment below.

Looking for my Invisible Child

Apparently, I have an invisible child who goes by the name of “Nahmee.”

Me: “Who’s turn to clean the litter box?”

My visible kids: “Nahmee.”

Me: “Who left the cereal box open?”

My visible kids: “Nahmee.”

I decided that my new quest in life was to find this invisible child of mine. I began doing homework online and searched for answers. Unfortunately, my Google searches for “Nahmee” did not come up with anything substantial I was looking for.

I eventually shared my story with some friends. To my surprise, I discovered a common theme between many of my friends who were parents. Here’s are some of my findings.

  1. The first friend told me that he is on a similar hunt to find his child, “Wununtme.” To this day, he has not physically seen nor heard this child.
  2. One mom said that she not only had one invisible kid. She had invisible twins, and their names were “Idonno” and “Ididndoit.” She also has not had a tangible encounter with this child.
  3. Another friend shared that her invisible kid has a Spanish name, “Yonofui.” Different language, same results. Nothing.
  4. Two older friends told me something strange and thought-provoking. They each had an invisible child who seemingly disappeared when their visible children grew up and out of the house. That could be a great news story if they end up having invisible grandchildren.

I am seeing a common thread that has been woven into each family. These mysterious children are invisible little beings who make messes in the house. Even though the parents have not made these invisible children responsible for any chores, their physically visible brothers and sisters says that they are. I think it’s terribly wrong for my visible children to blame all of the undone chores on the one child, who I haven’t even met. However, if my invisible child doesn’t speak up or show up, I won’t be able to address the messes he or she leaves he behind in the house.

So the quest continues. I can’t wait to finally meet my invisible kid. We have a lot of catching up to do. Until then- Nahmee has a lot of chores to work on.

If you have invisible child and have some insight or maybe have miraculously met your child please comment below.

Bonding Moments

Father showing his son
how to find the right one.


Thanks for taking the time to read my 2-line poem. This image reminds me of how it can be and should be between a father and his child. Does it have to be a physical task? Does it have to be a traditionally masculine activity? Is this form of mentoring exclusive to sons? No, not necessarily, but I believe fathers should make it their highest priority to invest their time into their children.

I remember the first time that I took my son fishing. He was about 6 and excited to catch fish as many 6-year old boys would be. We drove for about an hour to a lake that I was told was consistently stocked with fish. We were both eager, but I was totally unprepared on a hot Summer afternoon. When I mean totally unprepared I mean totally unprepared! I acted on a spontaneous urge to try fishing. I think I had been buried in work and school for weeks and knew that my son and I had to do something.

Why I chose to fish instead of another activity is a head-scratcher because we could have skated at the local skate park because that was something we were already doing together. We could have gone to the movies because I knew how to watch movies. I must have thought that being on a lake would have been refreshing. Plus, I wanted to teach my son something. Whatever my dad and uncles taught me about fishing when I was a kid was somewhere lost in my memory banks. Fishing skills were zero.

A friend was kind enough to let us borrow a couple of fishing poles. We went to the tackle shop next to the lake but bought the wrong bait on this muggy day. I you can imagine after baking on a lake for 3 hours, the only thing we caught were sunburns. We were fried, hungry, tired, and majorly disappointed.

Are you old enough to remember the Looney Tunes character, Sylvester the Cat? Sylvester was me, and Sylvester’s son was my son saying in major disappointment, “Ohhh Father….” Yet, I n that massive failure of a fishing day, bonding occurred between my son that day. I didn’t have a smartphone then to distract me. My attention was on my son and the potential catch. There were times of silently staring into the water together. In between the silent and mostly frustrating moments, we sat and talked about stuff. We sat and talked about stuff. A lot of layers get peeled off revealing the soul when you have time to just talk. It’s worthwhile for the parents. It’s rewarding for the children.

Your children may witness you failing at a lot of things, but they will win when you invest your time with them.

Do you have a major fail moment? Feel free to share. Your comments are appreciated.