Wedding Singer Worries

Just an hour earlier the wedding singer zipped through the city like a wedding singer should if he is running late to his gig. He glanced at his to-do list on his phone and was determined to make it to the wedding reception in time. He picked up his suit at the dry cleaners, grabbed a cappuccino 4 blocks further, and bought breath mints & water at the gas station 7 blocks after that. His band greeted him with boos and smart remarks, but they were ready to rock the reception. Their opening set was a smashing success with the wedding guests begging for more. The wedding singer looked out the window overlooking the city, and the sinking feeling overcame him as he noticed his pockets were empty. Where did he leave his phone?

Thanks for reading my latest 1-minute fiction. If you like my content, please write your opinions and thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate your feedback.

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!

Did JJ Abrahms make Star Wars great?

If you're gonna make Star Wars, then make it great. Great video by the team at Sincerely Truman.
The good folks at Sincerely Truman posted this about 2 years ago. Did the director of Star Wars, JJ Abrahms get it right? Did he make Star Wars great again?

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.

When a picture hints at the future

palos verdes joe cap

This shot taken by my son about 8 years ago, while a teenager, was a the snapshot that foretold (is that a word?) his future. Today, he makes a living doing graphic design and photography.

Interests turn into passions that turn into hobbies that have the potential to create opportunities for new relationships and endeavors. Most if not all talents do not have an expiration date. Don’t worry about what the window of opportunity looks like. That should not be your motivator. Take the time and focus to work on the skill or talent that enjoy doing. Do that first.

Check out the visual story of this trip to Palos Verdes on Steller.

Thanks for your support!

profile dreamerThanks everyone for taking the time to visit, like, comment on my posts and follow my content on social media, especially here on my blog. I have been writing for many years, but did not have a plan to share it, nor did I have the artistic skills to illustrate my stories. (I like pictures.) I discovered the awesomeness of mobile photography and now can mix lines of words with my images I take with my phone.

I am taking Gumroad.com ’s 30-day challenge to help grow my audience and launch an eBook collection of my 1-minutes stories and poems. Thanks again for your support, and if you dig my work, fill out your email address, hit that subscribe button and spread the word. I’m already mixing up great content for subscribers. Cheers! Joe

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.

I need your eyes!

I am working on an eBook of 1-minute stories and poems. What looks better when you are reading on a tablet or phone in portrait mode? (I formatted to page to fit on an iPad in portrait mode and assume most tablets or Kindle readers would be similar.)

Is it the first one with the poem on the image? 

Or do you prefer the second one with text on the page but below the image? 

 
Please share your preference in the comments below. Thanks! ~Joe