Journey with Me

Journey with me.
Converse with me.
Create with me.
Play with me.
Dream with me.
Doing life with me.

Notes: The story starter was given my Nicky Sanford on Steller a few years ago. Nicky is @thephotomomma on Instagram.

Life was not meant to be lived alone. Share it with others, most of all with the ones you love. However, there are relationships, short-lived to life-long that have yet to be made. Don’t avoid those connections. What would you fill in the blank for yourself? “__________ with me.”

Flashback Friday: The Days of Pre-Internet Radio

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Just the other day I thought of a song from my high school days and picked up my phone, did a search, and started playing the song not even a minute after I finished my thought. As we are moving toward listening content on demand more and more, I rewinded the clock 30 plus years.

Who remembers what tech was like a just a few decades ago? Were you the one who would wait by the radio anticipating when your favorite song was going to play on your favorite radio station? Was it a stereo, alarm clock radio, or portable radio with the antenna fully extended and turn a certain angle to get the best reception?

Being from the cassette tape generation, I was tried my best to be within arm’s length to my portable stereo (or was it a cassette deck sitting next to a radio) to press the play and record buttons to record the song off the radio. Because the DJ was talking to intro the songs, most songs weren’t recorded until a few seconds into the song.

I used to wait around in my room on Sunday nights to listen to “The Dr. Demento Show” on KROQ. I sing along with the “Fish Heads” song and anything Weird Al. Another thing I did was read along with a storytelling of “Star Wars: A New Hope” on a radio program. I don’t know how I found out about it, but I borrowed a book from the library to follow along as the story was read over the radio.

Those were unique experiences. The explosion of technological advances today are exciting, and creative people are continue to make unique experiences. Still, I think not having access to media back in the day created an anticipation and enthusiasm that could be put the “Good Times” drawer of my memory bank for future nostalgic moments like the one I am having right now.

What are your memories from the past that cannot be duplicated today because of technology? I think the more important question is how do you create unique experiences for yourself? for your family? for your business team? for your church community? for your friends?

Comment below and of course I am open to your suggestions for my 80’s playlist too!

The Steps We Take

Navigating the journey through life can be tough. The stakes are higher when people’s lives are affected by your decisions. There are more than a few poor decisions that I wish I could jump in a time machine, go back to the decisive moment, and choose differently because it affected my family, or a friendship, or career. Obviously, only Marty McFly could do such a thing in his DeLorean.

Even when we do make the right turns, the journey is filled with detours and even road blocks to our destinations. Follow through, determination, persistence, perseverance, moxie, and gusto are all required to pair with the wise choices to overcome challenges.

Don’t you agree that the great achievements and blessings usually require a dogfight to get there? Being discouraged is a natural reaction. Staying there and giving up is a choice. Sometimes we are tenacious about the most unimportant things. I remember getting stuck in traffic for almost an hour just because I wanted to get to a certain ice cream truck. Yeah, for ice cream. Here’s a few thoughts that to help you along your journey.

Whatever it is; have a vision. Set a goal or some goals. Better than that. Set little goals that lead up to the big goal. Be prepared for the detours and road blocks. Don’t be all butt-hurt when disappointments come. Disappointments happen. Don’t stay there long. Move on. It always helps to have at least one cheerleader. Encouragement goes a long way. If people are tied to your decisions like, children, a spouse, and business partners then do it for them. Live beyond yourself.

Your thoughts are appreciated. Comment below. Since we are on the subject of navigating, check out my visual story about “Walking In L.A.” on Steller

The Importance of the Mundane Things

FullSizeRenderI watched this smooth-the-sand-out man do his thing at sunrise. It seems like an extremely mundane thing to do. He went from one end of the beach to the other in his tractor turning the bumpy beach into a smooth one and stopping every once in a while to pick up a beer bottle or large object. I got to reap the benefits of an easy walk through the beach.

We all have the mundane every day tasks that we have to do at work and home. That’s doing the laundry. That’s reading the new employee’s handbook. That’s homework. But when we keep doing what we do day in and day out someone is going to benefit. Someone is going to get to walk on the sand you just smoothed out.

At least today’s modern technology allows us to play music almost everywhere we go. If you have a song you think I should add to my playlist when I “smooth out the sand,” please share it in the comments below. Happy Monday!

Make the Time

Do you make the time for yourself? Do you make time to spend time with the ones you love?

I took this shot a couple of years ago while watching families play on the beach this gloomy day, and happy I got this moment between a man teaching his son how to bodyboard. This was not a spontaneous outing. The father spent time and money to fit his son into a wetsuit and the right board. He may have spent time studying beach breaks that would be the best place for learning. It was apparent that this man was investing into his child and got some water therapy for himself at the same time.

I tried to get my kids to do the same, but they did not have the same love for the ocean as I did. What we do have the same passion for is cookies. That kind of backfired because after a few sessions and a couple of baking books, my daughters kicked me out of the kitchen to show that they could bake without my help. However, they make really delicious cookies. We might have the potential for a tasty family business.

The point is that you have to carve out time from your busy schedule. The time will not come to you. Believe me. As I tap out these words, I realize that I have not been on a date with any of my daughters in months. I was on a nice schedule of taking each one out for an ice cream cone night or trip to the bookstore where we just browsed and talked about books. These daddy-daughter dates did not happen because I didn’t set aside the time for it. It is time for me to get back on track.

Set appointments to enjoy time with loved ones. You have to do that with yourself too. Me time is important. Do not make excuses. A tight budget just means you need to be more creative with the activity. Besides, if it is important to you, then you will invest money into it as well as time. Put the dates on your phone. Add multiple reminders. Write a note and post it on your refrigerator. Make sure that you follow through.

What are you doing to carve out time for yourself and your loved ones? 

  • Do you make appointments on the calendar?
  • Is it consistent?
  • Are you giving your loved one your undivided attention during your time together?
  • Is there something like a hobby or television time that you can give up to invest that time back into yourself or a loved one?

If you have tips or insight, then comment below. I’d love to hear them.

Memory Go Round

His memories of this place were as vague as he chose them to be, but this day, this man relived this one a little longer. 

He sat on a wooden horse 35 years ago and watched his mother bury her face in her hands as his father walked away. He never saw the man again. 

His thoughts were interrupted by the laughter of his 2 children going around on their wooden horses. 

He clutched his wife’s hand a little harder and waved at his children,  determined to give them different memories. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this 1-minute fictional piece I wrote a couple of years ago. You may have had more than your share of painful memories as a child. You do not have to repeat them. Even if you did repeat them you can commit to break out of the cycle. The greatest security blanket you can give your children is you.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children?

Library Time

I drove around L.A. with the kids the other day while my wife had an appointment. I really wanted to explore this part of the city and hoping to find a cool coffee shop (without the help of my phone.) So I was on this discover Los Angeles theme with my girls, but that lasted 15 minutes before we passed a library. There was no debate at that moment when I asked my twins, “Do you want to go in?”

What can match the experience of an old neighborhood library? We walked past a busy room with a handful of friendly senior citizens inviting us in to browse through used books to buy. The girls declined and headed straight to the children’s fiction section on a mission to find a book. I had to modify their mission and told them that this library wasn’t “our” library, and they wouldn’t be able to use their library cards to borrow books. They were unreasonably disappointed but understandably so.

As we looked through the picture book section for classic and new titles, I couldn’t help resist reminiscing about my much younger days in the library. I remember the similar scents of printed books and the sounds of books being shuffled and hushed conversations. One of the newer sounds I recognized that didn’t exist in the library when I was a kid were beeps of barcodes being scanned, and keyboard taps on laptops of students studying. Do you remember the due date stamped inside the cover of the library book to remind you when it would need to be returned? I loved that part!

My children got Kindles for Christmas to read eBooks, but they know that nothing replaces a good ol’ printed book and nothing replaces being in a local library. 

Are there any  other “universal” childhood experiences and activities that still exist today? Have you brought your child to that place or introduced them to that experience?

  • Take them to the skating rink and rent roller skates. 
  • Find a used record store and show them your favorite album covers. 
  • Play Scrabble or buy your favorite board game and play it on game night. If you don’t have a game night, then make one. 
  • Rent the original classic movies of the remakes your kids watch now. 

Just some ideas to get you going. Your kids are interested in your childhood. Get going! Make it a great week!

A Voice From the World 5 Foot and Under

girls playing on street

First of all, thanks for visiting my website. I have been writing on my blog here for the past couple of years, and at least 3 times a week for that past year. For the most part, I have been sharing about my interests in mobile photography and sharing micro-fiction stories and poems. As I have been posting over the past few weeks, my heart has moved towards writing about what I have done for the past 3 decades; and that is working with children. I realize more than anything else that I am a voice from the world 5 foot and under.

I have decided that the majority of content on this blog will shift to benefit anyone who works with or raises young children: parents, grandparents, step-parents, foster parents, teachers, coaches, social workers, pediatricians, dentists, therapists, Sunday School teachers, etc. If you are any of those listed and want to hear another voice from the world 5-foot and under, then keep following and give me the opportunity to share my experiences and perspective.

Although I do not consider myself the highest authority on the subject of children, I have worked with children for 30 years and been a parent for over 20, so at least I can share with you some mistakes and learnings. Yes, I am still learning. And yes, I am a preacher, and preachers preach. Be forewarned, I might start singing, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” because He does!

About 3 times during the week on the blog, I will be sharing thoughts that I believe will make you smile, nod your head, chuckle and even shed a few tears. Since I still love writing what I call 1-minute fiction, I might squeeze in one every now and then. I am working on publishing some works, and you will get to see the process. I hope you join in and enjoy the journey with me by tapping the “Subscribe” button at the top of this page. Cheers!

Being a sage

Being a sage isn’t just about age
But it is coming of age

It comes from learning from mistakes
And refusing a life half-baked

The wise know that it is not limited to self but others
And to treat people like brothers

In the end it’s not about things to fill the holes
Instead, valuing the connections with other souls.

Thanks for reading my latest poem. Wisdom is more of a heart issue than it is about knowledge. It is willing to make the decisions that many people don’t have the guts to make. Wisdom requires courage. Experience means little if you choose to make the same mistakes. There is a Jewish Proverbs that says that wisdom is worth more than rubies, and I believe it. Are you growing in wisdom as you get older? How much is it worth to you? Respond in the comments below and tap on the SUBSCRIBE button.