Illustrate Your Story

This is one of my latest photo edits to illustrate a story I wrote, “Flower in a Cup.” I am a visual person. I think in images. That is how I process information best, and that is how I express myself. I have been writing sporadically for over 15 years, but consistently not until this past year. I think I found my niche to share with the world through social media, and it’s quirky one-minute fictional stories. I really can’t draw, but maybe I should invest in pencils. For now, it is my iPhone and apps to manipulate my images to illustrate my stories. I love doing it and seem to be learning a few things.

Shouldn’t each one of us be illustrating our own story? You are unique and bring that one-of-kind flavor to the world. Without your flavor, life would be bland.

Surfer John

I met this surfer man at dawn
who introduced himself as John.
Hoping for waves but most were gone,
so he kept chatting looking to bond.

I studied where he parked his old ride.
His car was filled with older things inside.
I wondered if his belongings could share their pride.
What tales they’d tell and secrets they’d confide.

John said that he lived down the street
I gather he’s says that to all those he meets.
He’s really a millionaire being discreet.
Looking for someone to sit in his passenger seat.

To take on adventures up and down the coast
Taking surf safaris that only few can boast
My theory is that he’s got pockets deeper than most
searching for someone he could trust and host.

Then again, he could be this guy named John who wanted to surf, and I let my imagination get away to share on this post.

Walking Together

I see this lovely elderly couple almost every time I’m down here at the beach. A few months ago at this spot, I slipped into my wetsuit to surf, but my zipper in the back got stuck. I wasn’t flexible enough to reach my arms behind me to fix it, and the water was too cold to leave my wetsuit open. I walked towards the water looking for someone to help.

By the time I walked from the parking lot to the water, my friends were already surfing, so I saw the man you see in the picture walking along the beach with his wife.

I approached him and asked him to zip up my wetsuit. He quietly nodded with a hidden smile and zipped the suit up to the base of my neck. In his thick Asian accent he told me, “You need-a wife!” We all laughed at that moment, and his wife continued to giggle as they walked away. I watched them for a minute thinking about these kind strangers doing their daily walk together.

It was good to see them walking together this morning, and isn’t that the point of being married? Walking through life together? What does that look like for you?

p.s. Shelley, when you are reading this, I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoy walking this life together with you.

Notes: Shot with iPhone 6+ iOS camera and edited with VSCO E3. The pictorial version is on Steller 

It’s about the journey


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
~Ernest Hemingway

I was just reminded that the stuff that happens while on the journey is what counts the most. I can be so consumed with the destination that I forget that it’s what happens in the process that makes me who I am. Then there are times, that I didn’t make it to the destination or I made it but not without some damage because I wasn’t willing to make the journey the way it should have been traveled.

It’s about the journey.

Notes: I shot this in Egypt with an iPhone 6+. It might be a little pixelated but I shot this couple from way far away. Edited with VSCO A9.

Laughter is Good Medicine

I snapped this street performer as he chased people down to startle them with his toy puppy, stopped to show off his juggling skills, and hammed it up for anyone with an iPhone. Shoppers, co-workers on lunch break, and tourists were laughing and smiling and happy to stop and watch the street performer do his thing.

A proverb in the the Old Testament says that a joyful heart is good medicine. According to the benefits of laughter include increasing blood flow, boosting antibodies, and even helping with sleep.

My approach is that life is too short to be too serious for too long. You need to be able to laugh at yourself and comfortable in your own skin to make others laugh with you or even at you.  Do whatever you need to do get some laughs in. Hang out with friends who like to laugh and watch some episodes of Little Rascals. Do whatever it takes. Get some good medicine of your soul.


Floating for seconds

they enter and leave the frame

Crossing over earth.
Read the pictorial version of my haiku via Steller. My username is: joe_montoya. #stellerstories

The Restroom Swish


I get to work with kids as a children’s pastor at the church I’ve attended for over 20 years. I have accumulated a few stories about little people doing things that make me crack up and shake my head at same time.

While I was doing my churchy duties supervising the children’s department on a Sunday night not too long ago, Little Joel had been happily playing basketball for a while in the Kindergarten classroom until he had the sudden revelation that he had to use the restroom badly.

He did the pee-pee dance in front of his teacher to prove his sincerity and urgency. The teacher was so convinced that she personally escorted him to the restroom with his basketball in hand. However, Joel had nowhere to place his orange sphere that made him so happy just minutes ago. But inside this tiled, dimly lit, and cold place there happened to be the perfect place to hold his prized object. 

Swish! Score!

Check out my story on Steller too: