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!

Knowledge is good. Wisdom is better.


I think I know more now at almost a half-century of life than I did a couple of decades ago. I foolishly thought that I knew it all when I was out of college at 24, but the more I know now, the more I realize I don’t know much. There is a Jewish proverb that says that wisdom is better than gold.

Wisdom is not the amount of knowledge you have but applying the knowledge you have. You can know how to make money, but the wisdom is in how you use that money. You can be an expert at driving, but if you are constantly getting traffic tickets then that knowledge is not being maximized to your own benefit; let alone any good for anyone else.
Wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. Many times, wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Wisdom is selectively choosing relationships and endeavors that may not seem popular. Wisdom is the voice that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Many times, wisdom requires courage to see it in action. Wisdom requires courage because the decisions you make influence others linked to you.

The sign in the picture says, “You know more than you think you do,” and let me add that the greater challenge is to apply what you already know to benefit yourself and those connected to you.

 

Swish!


I get to work with kids as a children’s pastor at the church I have attended for over 20 years. I have accumulated a few stories about little people doing things that make me crack up and shake my head at same time.

While I was doing my churchy duties supervising the children’s department on a Sunday night not too long ago, Little Joel had been happily playing basketball for a while in the Kindergarten classroom until he had the sudden revelation that he had to use the restroom badly.

He did the pee-pee dance in front of his teacher to prove his sincerity and urgency. The teacher was so convinced that she personally escorted him to the restroom with his basketball in hand. However, Joel had nowhere to place his orange sphere that made him so happy just minutes ago.

But inside this tiled, dimly lit, and cold place there happened to be the perfect place to hold his prized object.

Swish! Score!

Read the Steller version here: https://steller.co/s/4dWAXH7wfvG

Children Matter (a lot!)

This photo of my daughter reminded me of what matters most.  I worked in the public school system as a teacher for over 10 years in inner-city schools. One of my most memorable school years was bookmarked by one 9-year old girl. Yuri was brought into my classroom in the last quarter the of the school year.

Actually, she was literally carried like an infant into my 4th Grade classroom by the administrator. This girl balled up into a fetal position for the entire day. For at least a week, she spent her days with her head face down on the desk buried inside her folded arms.

She responded my attempts to talk to her with complete silence. I was frustrated but was not going to give up. I had just heard a series at church about valuing people.

If I was going to make a connection with Yuri, I knew I had to do something different. After the first bell, I yelled Yuri’s name with all the enthusiasm I could muster, as if I were the announcer of a championship boxing match, as all the students lined up in front of their classroom for school. I forgot to inform the rest of my class of my strategy, so they were enjoyably caught off-guard by my antics.

After I ceremoniously announced Yuri’s name at the start of every school day consistently for two weeks, Yuri began to speak to me through a translator-classmate. She made eye contact, but instead of talking to me, she whispered in her friend’s ear what she wanted me to know.

I played along with this to keep the communication open. Yuri didn’t do any of the classwork but would sneak a smile every once in a while to let me know that she was listening.

The extent of this communication lasted for another couple of weeks. Though this was not uncommon for this part of the city, Yuri’s parents were suspiciously unavailable for any school meetings, as our community worker worked tirelessly to get Yuri the help that she needed. Obviously, something was wrong.

One afternoon, about a month after we first met, Yuri approached me as I graded papers on my desk after school. Most of the students had left for the playground except for a couple of helpers cleaning up in the hallway. Without any prompting from me, Yuri began talking to me about herself and what she thought of school for the next 15 minutes. I think I may have squeezed in maybe a few words in this conversation.

However, I was quiet for most of our discussion because I had been in shock listening to my student gab with me as if we were best friends. At the end of our conversation, Yuri gave me a hug and said that this was her last day of school, and I was the best teacher she ever had.

At the end of the day, one of our administrators called me in her office to passionately explain what had happened. Social Services had been tracking Yuri’s parents for suspected neglect and child abuse. To elude Social Services, Yuri’s parents withdrew her from the school and left the area.

I never saw Yuri again, but the memory of her reminds me to care about what matters most. I am reminded of why I wanted to be a father and why I wanted to work (and still do) with children.

I believe as a society, the welfare of our children should be one of our highest priorities. I may not have solutions at a large scale for governments to consider but I do know it starts in the home. Comments? Please add some. Your input is appreciated!

Lighten Up

If you  squint your eyes hard enough just might  see that there are 3 tiny people standing on the edge of the cliff enjoying the view from up high. I am sure they were taking a nice break from work and all the to-do’s that must be done in their lives.

The  heaviness of those things in life can be overwhelming. It is important to keep things light. I have a few thoughts about attitudes towards work stuff, projects, and in general, all the stuff we have to do.

Lighten your load. Prioritize the stuff that’s most important. Those may not be the things are a screaming for attention. Identify the most important things, and break them down into smaller pieces. Make your mountain into smaller hills.

Lighten your grip. There may be stuff you need to let go. There may be tasks or projects in your workplace and home that someone else can do for you or with you. Most likely, they are better and more efficient at it anyways. There are actual tasks and projects that are waiting for someone, who likes that kind of stuff, to do them. You do not have to do it all. If you think you then ask yourself, “Why?” Give yourself the honest answer.

Lighten your mood. Make the most out of your situations. Not everything is enjoyable to do, but find ways to make tasks and projects a pleasant experience. My personal tip: play music… all the time.

The demands of life: home, family, work, business, public and private can rush you like a flood. Lighten it up. It will make a difference.

Oh, and it helps to get out there and play. Go somewhere where you see the massive sky and the people, if there are any, are enjoying the view… just like you.

Check out my visual story of this place you see in the picture, Palos Verdes, California.

Aging Thoughts

snapseed

As I get older I ask myself
What matters most?
Is it acceptance or success?
If so, I got nothing to boast.

What did I discover?
Do I still seek more?
Or did I play ignorant
and allow emptiness to take the fore?

I still have time left
to win this battle.
At least that’s what I tell myself
Otherwise, I’d stay rattled.

Isn’t my life rich and full?
I ask myself in the mirror
Do I even care?
More so than ever.

Do What You Love To Do

 Do what you love to do. Don’t leave your day job if you have to feed some faces and pay the bills. You can work your way towards a full-time gig if you stay focused and determined. Your window of opportunity may be closing, but it may not be closed. Your gift will create opportunities for you. If you give it all you got and fail, it is still better than not trying at all. Do not wait for the right moment because that moment may never come. You may have heard these statements before, but an encouraging word never gets old. Today is the perfect day to start or restart.

What is that dream or desire? What are you going to do about it today?

Sunday thoughts that should be everyday thoughts. 

 “None are more unjust in ..their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.” ~Charles Spurgeon.

I heard my pastor preach that pride (and I will throw in the word arrogance too) are like bad breath. Everyone knows you have it except you. I have my moments too and have to remind myself that my poop stinks like everyone else’s. God values everyone the same. We all have a judgment system in our thoughts. That’s how we make decisions. That’s how we navigate through life. How we judge a person’s value is the issue. We are all made in God’s likeness, so when we to arrogantly look down on someone because we are smarter, richer, stronger, or better-off is to put ourselves on a slippery slope. My approach is to humble myself because that is way better than being humiliated.

Thanks for taking the time to read. If you have a Sunday thought that should be an everyday thought chime in in the comments.

Be Content. Don’t Be Complacent. 

 When I think about being content, I look at what I have and focus on that instead of spending my time and energy on what I don’t have. The more I do that, the more I realize how rich I am.

I think complacency is more about not maximizing time and resources. I believe the reason why we can be complacent is because trying to achieve more requires work. It involves the risk of failure. However, all of us have people’s lives attached to us is some way. When we overcome complacency and succeed in the marketplace or at home, somehow those others attached to us benefit from the win.

Be content. Don’t be complacent. And what does this picture of the VW bus have to do with being content? Nothing.  It’s a cool bus and I took a picture of it to share with you.