Who’s riding along with you?

If you squint your eyes hard enough (I mean really hard!) you might to see a young boy fishing on the stern of the windsurf board while his dad used the wind to navigate to the other side of the bay. It reminded me that people are tied to our journeys in life. Those people can be those who are close to us. Those people can be those we have never seen before.

The fact is that we all have influence on others. Some are directly affected and some are indirectly affected. Are you intentional about who and how use your influence? Yes, you do have influence whether you accept it or not. As you are heading to your next destination or goal who are you bringing along with you? Who gets to fish at the stern of your board?

Let God’s promises shine on your problems

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” ~Corrie ten Boom

Corrie and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust by hiding them in her house. Corrie actively helped refugees in the Dutch underground until she was eventually caught by the Nazis and imprisoned for her actions. She survived a depth of darkness at the hands of other men that few of us will ever experience.

Here’s one excerpt of Scripture that comes from the songbook of David, who was no stranger to challenges. He wrote in Psalm 103:2-5,

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

I can only imagine that these words may have been some of those promises Corrie shined on her challenges as she risked her life hiding refugees, including the time she spent imprisoned in a concentration camp.

Take some time today to look up some promises to shine on your life today. You already have a few to start with. We may not be destined to hide refugees in our home, but there are people you can bless today with kindness and generosity.

Feel free to add your own promises that you think will help other readers in the comments below.

The Importance of Doing the Mundane

Almost every time I come to this beach before the sun comes up, I watch this man in his tractor level the sand on the beach. It seems like an mundane thing to do. He goes from one end of the beach to the other in his rolling machine turning the bumpy beach into a smooth one and stopping every once in a while to pick up a beer bottle or large object. My friends and I reaped the benefits of an easy walk through the beach to surf for a couple of hours. We didn’t have to worry about stepping on trash that the previous beachgoers left behind because of this man’s work.

The word ‘mundane’ is usually used in a negative context, yet the the dictionary says that it relates to the ordinary and commonplace. We all have the mundane every day tasks that we have to do at work and home. That could be taking out the trash. That could be reading the revised employee’s handbook. That could be leveling the beach. Keep in mind that as we consistently complete the ordinary tasks that we have to do day in and day out, most likely someone is going to benefit and even if that person is you. Someone is going to get to walk on the sand you just smoothed out.

Speaking of the mundane, I listen to music while doing chores to help the time go by. Which genre of music you like to listen to when you are tackling your to-do list? Share below and thanks for reading.

If we could all pick up some trash

I have seen this lady numerous times in this part of the city. She seemed content in her work; a work that may be unrewarding for many. This was my first time up close with this woman. She strolled through this section of downtown Los Angeles where the homeless population gathered and littered the streets. This day, the consumers of the street market were worse; they consumed their food, then left their food wraps, napkins, and empty bottles behind. (It always bothered me how people could intentionally drop trash on the street when a trash can is literally a few feet away.)

Yet, when I observed this woman, she continued to pick up the pieces of trash as a few people oblivious to her presence would drop their unwanted items right in her path. The woman stayed in a consistent flow of moving, stopping, and picking up trash. At least in this moment, she looked focused and satisfied with her progress.

I remember my days as a 4th grade teacher, and I would direct my students to pick up trash before going to recess or at the end of the school day. It was almost every day that a student would refuse to pick up trash with the the excuse, “That’s not my trash.” Wouldn’t our world be that much more amazing if we all just picked up a little bit of trash?

Wouldn’t our world be that much more amazing if we all just cared a little bit more?

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.

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

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

Be Content. Don’t Be Complacent. 

 When I think about being content, I look at what I have and focus on that instead of spending my time and energy on what I don’t have. The more I do that, the more I realize how rich I am.

I think complacency is more about not maximizing time and resources. I believe the reason why we can be complacent is because trying to achieve more requires work. It involves the risk of failure. However, all of us have people’s lives attached to us is some way. When we overcome complacency and succeed in the marketplace or at home, somehow those others attached to us benefit from the win.

Be content. Don’t be complacent. And what does this picture of the VW bus have to do with being content? Nothing.  It’s a cool bus and I took a picture of it to share with you.