When the Kids Hijack my Phone 

When friends and co-workers hijack my phone the results (without consent) are typically a marital status change on my FaceBook or a tweet about me loving Hello Kitty (although I do have much love for Batzmaru.) I don’t think my daughters are well versed in practical jokes yet, so I will gladly accept any hijacking they do as long as it doesn’t involve them buying something. Here are the latest.

I am thankful for my kids. I don’t bat 1.000 as a dad, but I will keep swinging.

I thought I was done with this post, but have a few more thoughts that need to be expressed. I spend a majority of my waking hours working as childrens pastor, and I see tons of children who do not have a father present in their lives. Many of them have never met or know their father. Much respect to the men who take the responsibility of being a father to their children. I had the privilege of having a father in my life. His constant presence in my life created a stability that I have taken 30 years into my own adult life. As imperfect as I am I have always had some kind of level-headedness because my dad was and still is. If you are a male and have children then be a man and be a dad to your children. So many of them do not.

Pop Yoda’s Thoughts on Christmas Shopping 

“Waiting til December 24 to shop for your loved ones. A Jedi shops not this way. That is why you fail,” says Pop Yoda.

While at the local store, I saw a man in front of his own children chew out an elderly man just because he couldn’t get out the way fast enough.

Even if this man is not Christmas shopping, he should know better that this is the busiest time of the year to be at a store. He provided the perfect example to his children of how to be a disrespectful, self-centered, Scroogey  bully.

If you are not into the Christmas spirit, then stay at home and let those who revel in this last-minute madness enjoy their moment. It will be over soon.

“Be of good cheer you must,” says Pop Yoda. Be of good cheer.

24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas

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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


California Winter

 Winters along the coast of Southern California can get mildly cold (it was freezing this morning though) and a little more than barely wet (especially during this drought.) The winter swells keep the surfers and photographers fully engaged.

That is part of my perspective on Winter because I spend time in the water trying to catch waves and take pictures whenever I’m close to sand, rocks, and ocean.  Although this part of the world only gets two seasons: warm-and-dry and cool-and-not-as-dry, I still appreciate the latter as much as the warmer one. Looking to stay engaged with winter all winter long.

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?”

Stoked Defined 

 Stoked [stohkt] adjective. Slang.

The web dictionary defines stoked as “exhilarated” and “excited.” I usually use other words instead of “stoked.” I use words like “excited” and “thrilled.” That changes today.

I got into solid head high surf with a group of friends at the crack of dawn. It was very crowded by 6:30am, but I carved out a little space for myself and caught a few lefts that will keep me smiling throughout the day. It was great camaraderie and great surf. I am “stoked” and will be using that word a lot more.

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. 

The Mission at San Juan Capistrano

 I went on a field trip with my daughter’s class to Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is a beautiful place in a beautiful city. I know beneath the beauty are stories of struggle and pain mostly told by those who had no voice.

See the visual essay on Steller.

Taking Pictures at the Beach

  This is a spot in Newport Beach, California. I surfed the little beach break they call Blackies earlier in the week, but this one afternoon I brought my family to walk around. When the kids saw the rocks it was inevitable that they would end up climbing on them.

As the kids were playing, I observed people taking turns taking pictures at the edge of the rocks. As I got closer, I saw one young lady walk cautiously further out towards the edge of the rocks before noticing her 2 friends. She posed and waited patiently for her friends to take the postcard picture, but they were preoccupied taking pictures of themselves. Blame it on the selfie stick.

Check out the visual essay on Steller