Thinking of Disneyland

 I live close enough to ride my bike to the “happiest place on Earth,” yet have not been there for months. I had passes for my family but let them expire. As much as I like to play, it just got too expensive.

We will return Disneyland soon! I have literally hundreds of photos I have taken over the years with either my phone.  Here is my visual essay about the magical place in Anaheim, California.

Their Unplanned Voyage

  “Whoa, get a load of that!” the voice announced as Martin and Cheryl looked up at the huge wooden vessel that docked in the place of where their weekend yacht used to stay. The couple stared astonished and enchanted at the same time as the deep and weathered voice bellowed out again,”C’mere me beauty! We’ve been waiting an eternity!” Cheryl without hesitation began to walk up the ramp towards the ship. Martin quickly followed her to the deck immediately looking for a camera and a television host with microphone in hand to reveal this elaborate prank conspired by his mischievous and resourceful neighbors at the marina. There was no such conspiracy this day.

As the two surveyed the deck, Martin and Cheryl found themselves unraveling the ropes that tethered them to the dock. The voice shouted more commands and a multitude of men shouted, “Aye aye, captain!” The sea of voices shouted back and forth like an eerie song, yet there was no one to be seen. As the dark vessel separated herself from the dock, Martin and Cheryl looked at each other with bewildered eyes as they both recalled that a couple and their yacht disappeared exactly a year ago. The last words that echoed through the marina was “All hands on deck,” and the couple and the unseen crew all grabbed scrambled for to their positions as the ship named “The Wanderer” moved towards the open waters.

Notes: Original pirate ship image shot with iPhone 5. iPhone 6 captured my friend Attila jumping at his Golden Rise Instameet last year. Edited with Union app and Mextures. 

Eternity Continues After Sunday

It is the day after Sunday. Most of us go right back to the daily grind after the weekend. Some of us have the Monday Blue’s and look towards Wednesday as the hump day because once we get past that day, the following weekend is within our grasp. Yet, I believe you will agree that there is more to living your life from weekend to weekend. Here is the question I believe we all need to ask ourselves, even the day after Easter. 

Eternity continues after Sunday. If you attended a church this past Sunday for Easter, you may have been asked to ponder about your course through eternity. Eternity exists whether you choose to believe it or not. Eternity doesn’t begin when die. Eternity existed before your yesterday. Eternity is today. Shouldn’t you be thinking of your eternity today?

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” ~C.S. Lewis

A Wedding 50 Floors Above L.A. 

The Big Fake Wedding was a bridal show literally above the Los Angeles skyline. It was organized by wedding vendors for future brides and grooms to experience a “fake” wedding ceremony and reception. Planners, wedding singers, and photographers were among the larger group of vendors in action at the event. It may have been a fake wedding, but the work that went into was real. I experienced that reality firsthand because I assisted my wife, who was the floral designer of this unique event.

Before you see the visual essay, here’s a couple of thoughts about marriage. Most people spend way more time preparing and educating themselves to have a career or pursue a hobby than they would preparing for a marriage relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime. Take the time to prepare beyond the wedding for a life-long marriage. If you are already in a marriage relationship and want it to be better, then take the initiative to invest into your relationship. Isn’t your relationship worth it?

Check out “A Wedding 50 Floors Above L.A.” here https://steller.co/s/5HeAuT8DxSe

 

Thoughts on Paper

 I can think of no better way to reflect than writing thoughts on paper. Ok, tapping on a keyboard is cool, but I like to throw in a doodle to two. Writing opens the doorway to express dreams and complaints and everything in between. Social media has expanded an audience as big as the world can fit, but hopefully you realize that many thoughts were meant just for your own soul. If you haven’t tried it, now is a good time to start. If you do then you know. 

Painting 2016


2016 is your canvas. Let’s get painting! I used to not be so gung-ho about goal setting and making resolutions for the New Year, but as I am getting older (and hopefully wiser) I am seeing the importance of living with vision.

Waiting for something good to happen without a plan or action is just not viable strategy. I didn’t paint this picture of my friend, Rich surfing, but thanks to modern technology I was able to create an image that looks like it was painted. This surfer started off as a screen image I took from one of Rich’s YouTube surfing videos. When I manipulated the image I knew that I wanted the final image to look like an oil painting with deep saturated colors. All of my editing was focused on what I wanted this image to look like. Shouldn’t we live like that? Shouldn’t we have a clear picture of what we want, so our efforts can move us towards that picture? What is your vision?

See the visual essay here via Steller:

24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 preset

Thanks to Mobiography.com for including me in the 2015 list of 24 mobile photographers till Christmas. The following is an excerpt of the article.

Once again I am pleased to present this years ’24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas’. It is a series that has been run throughout December for the last couple of years and has always been successfully received. In part, it is to celebrate the forthcoming festive season but also to celebrate another year in the timeline of Mobiography.

In the series I ask 24 hand picked mobile photographers to offer an insight into their work, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead. Each featured photographer is someone who has inspired or supported me in one way or another during the course of the past year. One photographer will be showcased each day until Christmas Eve in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.

Today’s featured photographer is Joe Montoya.

Even though I take photographs mainly for storytelling and really need to grow technically in photography skills, I am thrilled and honored to be included in a list of very talented and creative artists. Thanks again to Andy Butler and the folks at Mobiography for the feature. Read more on the article here 24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas 2015: Joe Montoya

 

A Note From A 4-Year Old

   As I usually do as the supervisor of the children’s department of my church, I stood watch in the lobby as the building doors opened for the parents to drop off their children. I greeted as many kids and parents as I could in the span of about 10 minutes before a 4-year old girl’s voice called out to me. She handed me a note and said, “I wrote it myself. It’s for you.” 

I studied the note and saw how carefully she drew her pictures and write her newly acquired written language. I couldn’t decipher her preschool code, but I saw that she knew how to spell her name. As I focused on this text, this little person said, “I know how to spell my name.” The note was signed, “Ava.”

I kept the note as a reminder that I have influence over a young and impressionable person’s life. I read somewhere that said that even the most introverted of folks will influence about 10,000 people in their lifetime. I am asking myself the same question I am asking you, “What are you doing about it?”

A Scoop In The Right Direction 

  Yup. Doctor’s orders. Yes, I like to eat all things bad with my main weaknesses being French fries with anything. That and desserts of all shapes and sizes. Alas, it is time to change my ways  I will not wait for January 1 to come to make for a New Year’s Resolution that won’t stick. 

As much as I would like to eat a Ron Swanson breakfast this morning I wanted to start my day right with the right fuel for my body. This is a bowl of oatmeal, topped with pumpkin flax granola, and chia seed. Ok, I added a little brown sugar as my addiction to to sweets runs deep. 

I think I am like a lot of folks. I need healthy breakfast or lunch ideas that don’t take a lot of prep time. If you are willing to share, I would appreciate whatever ideas you want to send my way. 

Flowers for Wedding Day

  
My wife, Shelley from herecometheblooms.com needed a team for this wedding, so she recruited me to help her and her sister set up for the big day. As busy as it was, I couldn’t resist taking pics as we installed the florals in the church and reception area. You can see the visual essay on Steller.