Trying > Not trying

“If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t, you ensure it.” ~Anonymous

I like this kind of math for life. “Trying > Not Trying.” If it helps you remember to step up, step out, and risk failure, then meditate on this, “Trying > Not Trying.”

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.

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.

Learning Life While Taking Pictures

Yes, I became one of the millions who all of a sudden became a photo snapping fool after discovering that I could actually use the camera on my iPhone that was within an arm’s reach 24 hours of the day. After learning some basic rules from my pro photographer buddy (Thanks Rene!), YouTube videos, and learning from some fine artists on Instagram and Flickr- I think I am actually gaining some skills on the art of capturing life. But that’s not what this post is entirely about. The bigger “picture” (Yes, pun intended) is about what I do with my life, how I can lead my family, and be a blessing to my friends, community, this world.

For the past 7 years of taking at least 1 photograph everyday, I realize that no matter how much technology is crammed in this pocketable and delightful device, the camera is still very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. I discovered from the limitations of a phone camera that it is more about what I do with what I have instead of focusing on what I lack. Isn’t that life? Ok, here are 3 of some of the lessons:


Photography Lesson #1
: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about where the subject is positioned inside the rectangular frame and what stays in the frame and what does not need to makes a difference.

Life Lesson #1: How I compose my life is crucial. I need to be intentional and thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision. How do you compose your life each day? What are the subjects that you are focusing on? Are there things and people that do not have to be in the picture?

Photography Lesson #2: Lighting is everything. Great lighting usually results in great results. Poor lighting brings a lot of challenges.

Life Lesson #2: Lighting is everything with the decisions I make. Of course, most choices made in my waking moments are not a matter of life and death, but informed, thoughtful decisions usually have positive results. Doing some homework, getting insight from the sages in my life, and applying God’s Word are the best ways to bring light into my situations. Jesus made this claim, and I believe it, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Do you believe Jesus can do that to the point of trust?  I think we can all agree that life’s best learnings are the ones when we say “Ah!” because the light bulb turned on a situation. So, what is the source of your light?

Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a purpose. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop an aesthetically pleasing and engaging image. The great thing about digital editing a photo is that you can “undo” an edit you are not pleased with. Even after the photograph has been taken

Life Lesson #3: The things that we focus on are not going to be complete at first. There is always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. What and how I change the things in my life determine my results. I have been learning that less is more. How about you? Are you adjusting your attitude to get the right perspective? Are you ok with everything being a process? You may not be able to “undo” some decisions, but you can always change you.

Just recently another photographer friend gave me his dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities. Thanks Gilbert! However, the bigger picture (there I go again with the pun) is to do the best with what I have in my hands right now. Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Remember, lighting is crucial, so get light. Be thoughtful with how you compose your life. Make changes with purpose even if it is just changing you. You may not get it right the first time. It’s a process. You will be glad you did. Your family will be glad you did. The world will be a better place.

Yes, I took the picture of that surfer on the beach with an iPhone.

A Surfer’s Conversation


The godfather at the local break sat his listeners down as he preached from the back of his van to share one more key to his version of life. 

“It’s all in the conversation,” he pointed out. “Take this one guy. He wanted to be with this girl so badly, that he woke up at 5am just to join her morning session. He tried to convince her that he was as experienced as she was in the water, but she saw through his stories. She told him later that she just wanted to be friends.”


“Some guys chat from the moment they get their toes wet. They talk while they paddle out. They talk while sitting in the lineup. They talk while you’re trying to paddle into a wave,” the godfather added. “If they’d talk less, they’d catch more.”


“There’s nothing you can do when high tide turns the break into a swamp,” the godfather continued, “I can’t tell you how many guys end up watching and talking before walking to the closest coffee house to talk some more.”
“All I can say is…” the godfather paused as if he had changed his last point in mid-breath, “make your words count and paddle more.” He ended his surf-sermon, hugged his listeners, knowing that he would get to preach again the next day.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Some people are just more artful at conversation than others. Mike, the surf teacher is a real person and a real storyteller. People like him produce a lot more smiles in this world. Isn’t storytelling and conversations make life more exciting? I appreciate your feedback, and if you like my content please share it.

Check out the Steller version here.

Make the Time

Do you make the time for yourself? Do you make time to spend time with the ones you love?

I took this shot a couple of years ago while watching families play on the beach this gloomy day, and happy I got this moment between a man teaching his son how to bodyboard. This was not a spontaneous outing. The father spent time and money to fit his son into a wetsuit and the right board. He may have spent time studying beach breaks that would be the best place for learning. It was apparent that this man was investing into his child and got some water therapy for himself at the same time.

I tried to get my kids to do the same, but they did not have the same love for the ocean as I did. What we do have the same passion for is cookies. That kind of backfired because after a few sessions and a couple of baking books, my daughters kicked me out of the kitchen to show that they could bake without my help. However, they make really delicious cookies. We might have the potential for a tasty family business.

The point is that you have to carve out time from your busy schedule. The time will not come to you. Believe me. As I tap out these words, I realize that I have not been on a date with any of my daughters in months. I was on a nice schedule of taking each one out for an ice cream cone night or trip to the bookstore where we just browsed and talked about books. These daddy-daughter dates did not happen because I didn’t set aside the time for it. It is time for me to get back on track.

Set appointments to enjoy time with loved ones. You have to do that with yourself too. Me time is important. Do not make excuses. A tight budget just means you need to be more creative with the activity. Besides, if it is important to you, then you will invest money into it as well as time. Put the dates on your phone. Add multiple reminders. Write a note and post it on your refrigerator. Make sure that you follow through.

What are you doing to carve out time for yourself and your loved ones? 

  • Do you make appointments on the calendar?
  • Is it consistent?
  • Are you giving your loved one your undivided attention during your time together?
  • Is there something like a hobby or television time that you can give up to invest that time back into yourself or a loved one?

If you have tips or insight, then comment below. I’d love to hear them.

Today’s Haiku


Light beams invite them
to walk through a simple maze
of breeze swept woodland

Thanks for reading my latest poem. When was the last time you took an easy stroll through the wood to get refreshed? Shouldn’t it be scheduled regularly? You don’t have to drive hours to find a sanctuary; just a park with a cluster of trees will do. Taking the time to breathe in an extra dose of oxygen from the trees is better than the daily supply of exhaust fumes while sitting in traffic. Being surrounded by earth’s tones seems to clear the clutter and suddenly you remember the wind and hear the songs of birds that you programmed yourself to tune out. Take a nature break. You need it more than you think you do.

Light

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~Plato

And I was afraid of light as a kid. Ok. Not lights, but I was scared of changing light bulbs for the longest time. Then when I was 20, I got shocked after forgetting to turn off the electricity while repairing an outdoor light.  I got over the fear after that. Make it an awesome weekend everyone!

Thoughts Over Coffee


For the past few years, on every weekday morning, he sat by his apartment window to drink and think over his carefully prepared coffee. However, for many weeks he pondered life outside his urban maze. This day, in his quiet sanctuary on the 2nd floor he heard rural whispers as an image appeared on the surface inside his cup. 

He stared into his cup, picked up his phone, and called the office. He notified that he wouldn’t return for another week. “I’m not OK, but I will be,” is how he ended the conversation. Instead of heading to the office, he began to pack his backpack for his unplanned trip beyond the city’s boundaries to find the place he saw in a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading my 1-minute fictional story. I wrote it a couple of years ago on Backspac.es and breathing new life to it on my blog. Please comment below and share your thoughts on this story. I appreciate your feedback.