The Day A Beetle Attacked My Family

This Japanese beetle reminds me of the time my girls (4 years old then) refused to go outside because of a curious and very large beetle buzzing at our window. Although Japanese beetles are harmless to people they can look and sound menacing. I promised them that this bug would not bother them if they would just go with me to the car, so we could run some errands.

Unbeknownst to me, this beetle made its way into my car through a crack as I negotiated with my little ladies. After threatening my daughters of a lifetime ban of candy if they didn’t cooperate, the two girls finally rushed out of the house and into my car like Navy Seals under duress.

If you can imagine the chaos that ensued once this clumsy beetle emerged from his hiding place to buzz around our heads inside the tiny cabin of my Toyota Corolla. The girls screamed. I screamed. We all screamed and ran out of the car in terror. 

My kids still love me although the trust level is just not there when it comes to being safe with beetles. This is the part where I come up with something mind blowing about life, but right now I got nothing except when you see a Japanese beetle watch yo back!

Your turn. Share your crazy family moment. I’d love to get your feedback in the comments below. 

Lessons from my iPhone camera

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 some basic tips from a couple of pro photographer friends, how-to’s online, youtube videos, and learning from 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 about.

For the past 6 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 very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. The lesson that I am repeatedly learning is that it is about what I do with what I have.

  • Photography Lesson #1: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about what’s stays in the frame and what doesn’t and where the things are inside the rectangle makes a difference. Life Lesson #1: Be intentional and even more thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision.
  • 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 the same with the decisions I make. Ok, 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 praying are the best ways to bring light into my situations.
  • Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a cause. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop a pleasing image. Life Lesson #3: Most accomplishments are not going to be right the first time. There’s always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. My edits determine my results.

I will eventually get a dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities, but what matters right now is what I have in my hands and what I do with that. The best compliment that I have received was from an event photographer who asked me, “Did you really do that with your phone?”

Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Be intentional. Do things on purpose. Do things with purpose. You may not get it right the first time, so edit until you get the right results.

Yes, I took the picture of my cat with an iPhone.

 

The Once A Year Game 

Every year the day after Christmas, the man and his young son chose a video game to play that would last the entire night until the crack of dawn. They ate their favorite snacks and sodas to sustain them during the hours their bodies begged for sleep. This tradition carried on for a handful of years, but the father’s enthusiasm waned. The father grew too busy not only the day after Christmas but every day. Not many Christmases had gone by when the young son became a young man who had to convince his father every year to continue their video game. 

Eventually, the young man became an older man who “forgot” about the game played just once a year. The father would stare at his son’s old video game controller, pick up the phone, and leave a message for his son as a reminder of their annual game. 

Once a year and every year the day after Christmas, the father plays that same video game until the wee hours of the morning, heavily caffeinated to survive the night. He plays alone, all the while believing that his son will finally return home to play the game.


Father & Son

Father showing his son

how to find the right one.


That’s my latest Twitter poem. I snapped this picture in 2008 in Palos Verdes, California. Looking back at this image reminds me that this is how is 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? The answer is “No” to all of these questions, but I believe fathers should make it their highest priority to invest their time into their children.

I remember the last time that I took my son fishing was a complete failure. We went to a local lake totally unprepared. I ended up buying the wrong bait on the hot day. The only thing we caught were sunburns. In that massive failure of a fishing day, bonding occurred between my son that day. I’m glad that I didn’t have a smartphone then.

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

The Challenge of Twitter Poetry

How do you write a poem in 140 characters or less? Actually, less than 140 characters because I usually tie the poem to one of my images. That cuts the space down to 117. Even with a link shorterner, like ow.ly, that still leaves me with only a skimpy offering of 95 characters to wax poetic. I can forget hashtags like #poetweet and #twaiku. I don’t like being long-winded, but writing something meaningful with rhythm and rhyme in 95 characters is a challenge. I’ll give it my best go. I’ve already tried a few. Here are a couple of my recent Twitter expressions. Never mind the title. Not enough characters for one.

Gloomy gray 

California day

I wanted my latest to be a thought stirrer. The image wasn’t so serious, so I kept it light. 

He rides from point A to point B

Not very fast but definitely free. 


Here’s the next one in the queue. Do you have about 90 characters?

The Opportunity to Share Stories

I knew that I wanted to write when I was about 20 years old. I was working at the park as a recreation leader, and the kids and teenagers wanted to have a talent show. The staff wanted to do a skit about the challenges of being a staff member at the park. I remembered insisting that I write the script which I did. About 5 of us rehearsed the skit, and I think the story was about kids at the park being out of control and the recreation leaders having a meltdown as a result. We performed this skit on stage in front of the kids, and it was a really enjoyable time. When I heard the kids laughing, I realized this is something that I like to do.

I finished the initial draft of my first children’s story 15 years ago, but didn’t know how to publish it or even how to share the story. I didn’t have the drawing skills to illustrate my own photos, so I looked for help. After working but never finishing the project with a couple of artist friends, I shelved it for a few seasons.

Then the iPhone happened in 2007, and I got hooked on mobile photography. I realized that I could illustrate my stories with photography. The funky-filtered, over-processed pictures that the photo purists criticize about are the images that I want to illustrate my stories. I get to be my own illustrator. How about that?

Today’s explosion of social media gives me the opportunity to share my writing to a much wider audience than I ever had before. Even if it’s just a handful of folks that ready my story and tap on the like or favorite or reshare button that is still a handful more than I ever had before that enjoyed a story or poem I created.

The Challenge of Twitter Poetry

How do you write a poem in 140 characters or less? Less than 140 characters because I usually tie the poem to one of my images: that cuts the space down to 117. Even with a link shorterner, like ow.ly, that still leaves me with only a skimpy offering of 95 characters to wax poetic. I can forget hashtags like #poetweet and #twaiku. Maybe not. I’ll give it my best go. I’ve already tried a few. Here’s one of my recent Twitter expressions. Never mind the title. Not enough characters for one.

Gloomy gray 

California day.