My wife asked me to help her do a floral install at a beautifully renovated historic wedding venue in Redlands. While I helped her finish adorning the arch with flowers and greenery, I met a few folks as they walked through the alley. One beautiful gray-haired couple strolled through. Actually, they hobbled through slowly because of ailments over the years. I took a few pics of them posing in front of the arch. They had lived in the area for decades and showed me pictures of a younger them from the 70’s. They were so happy that the alley was renovated after being a dilapidated pit stop and trash bin of transients for years.
Just minutes before I met the couple, a well-groomed but worn gentleman walked through with his bicycle and asked me a lot of questions about our business in the alley. As he went on his way, the caretaker working for the city told me that the homeless man I was talking to used to be a dentist with a successful practice just blocks away. He lost his business and his family to a drug habit just a couple of years ago. Nowadays, he wanders the streets with his bike.
This day was just a reminder to me that everyone has a story. Not all are sweet. Some are more compelling than others. Many are interesting. All have a chance for redemption.
I remember being in the fourth grade and standing on the asphalt early in the morning and scouting the playground. If I couldn’t find a friend I would play on the monkey bars or the rings. Most of the time I found a friend and we would walk around the playground and talk. I vaguely remember what we talked about. What do 10-year-olds talk about on the playground? Do you remember your conversations with friends at 10 years old? I rewinded the clock about 40 years this morning. I went to the beach to surf and scouted the “playground.” and ended up talking with friends who were scouting too. I never made it into the water. Back to my question. Do you remember your conversations with friends at 10 years old?
A couple of years ago, I injured my shoulder surfing and was not able to surf for several weeks. I continued going to the beach and took photos instead while my body healed. I remembered watching the local high school surf team this day as they shouted, laughed, and scored really great waves during a winter swell. What stood out the most was watching some students stylin’ on cheap foam boards that are sold at the local Costco.
I heard a preacher on the radio say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I have heard this saying recycled and re-quoted many times in different forms like, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but is it not true? Anything “awesome” or “epic” usually depends on how you participated in it. The kids who surfed with the foam boards were carving out waves as good as the other kids who had boards that cost 10 times more.
Times have changed and now people reject sound wisdom and will react with, “What if I don’t like lemonade?” and “Why am I getting lemonade when those people get Arnold Palmer’s?” The victim card is way overplayed nowadays. It is time to put that card down and take that 10% of crap that has been thrown your way and turn it into fertilizer for the 90%. Grow something. Change something. Overcoming obstacles in life is not easy nor comfortable. Stop wasting energy on leveling the playing field and just play. If all you have is that cheap foam board, then use it and make it awesome. The 90% is yours.
At the local IKEA
Relieves the stress
At least that’s my idea
Life is too short
To always play it cool
There are just some moments
You have to be a fool
Smiles trump frowns
And chuckles beat sighs
Meet your quota for laughs
Before you die.
That’s my motto
Because times get too heavy
Laughter takes advantage
Of life in its brevity
Thanks to my co-workers Chris and Sarah for putting up with my humor during a busy day. Thanks to you, followers and visitors, for putting up with my humor.
A word to the young,
Yours can be fooled
Usually when you’re foolish
Wreckless and never ruled.
A word to those who are gray,
Before you lay to rest
Stop pining for yesterdays
And make today your best.
A word for the lonely,
Don’t be offended by my tone
Sharing your journey is a choice
So is staying alone.
A word to the lost,
Open your eyes
And commit to find your way
Instead of living on lies.
A word to those who are filled,
Help us sift the truth from the tales
Warn us about chasing after empty dreams
And remind us that love never fails.
The flower fades
as we can see
yesterday in full glory
now traveling to a distant memory.
Vibrant and springing life
once boasting and bold
color has bled away
standing, yet wilting and cold
Life is to be cherished
its span is too small
capture every moment
until eternity calls
Love as much as you can love
live bigger than your mind
give more than you keep
before there is no more time
Because we will all fade
and in the end we will see
that we all had the gift
to pen a beautiful story.
The Big Fake Wedding was a bridal show literally above the Los Angeles skyline. It was organized by wedding vendors for future brides and grooms to experience a “fake” wedding ceremony and reception. Planners, wedding singers, and photographers were among the larger group of vendors in action at the event. It may have been a fake wedding, but the work that went into was real. I experienced that reality firsthand because I assisted my wife, who was the floral designer of this unique event.
Before you see the visual essay, here’s a couple of thoughts about marriage. Most people spend way more time preparing and educating themselves to have a career or pursue a hobby than they would preparing for a marriage relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime. Take the time to prepare beyond the wedding for a life-long marriage. If you are already in a marriage relationship and want it to be better, then take the initiative to invest into your relationship. Isn’t your relationship worth it?
Check out “A Wedding 50 Floors Above L.A.” here https://steller.co/s/5HeAuT8DxSe
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.
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own,
and you know what you know.
And you are the only one who’ll decide where you’ll go.”~Dr. Seuss
How could you not love Dr. Seuss? I found this picture as I cleaned out my photo library on my phone. When I saw it, I went into “deep thoughts” mode. Here are a few of my thoughts on the paths we choose in life:
- Regardless of your theology, you are never alone. Why even try to do life by yourself? It is way more interesting to walk this journey with others.
- Have a destination, even though many of you know it really is about the journey and not the destination.
- With a destination in mind, walk with purpose in every step. They count whether they were wasted or not and you can’t take them back.
- There is no shame in changing course at any of point of the journey if you realize you are going the wrong way.
- Don’t avoid paths just because they are too challenging or risk pain. No pain. No gain.
- Enjoy it.
I am sure that is just a fraction of the list, but my attention span is limited at the moment. What would you add to the list?
I remember the time being panned for money by a homeless man while I waited in line at a Taco Bell. We were both 20-something by then, and the moment he asked me for some change we locked eyes. I could tell by his eyes that he recognized me.
We were once neighbors and childhood friends. I can still replay the day he let me ride his motorized scooter down the alley behind his house. This day, this man acted like he didn’t remember me, and I was too embarrassed to press the issue. I gave him what I had in my pocket; a dollar and some change. He mumbled a thank you and walked away.
Even though our meeting happened over 20 years ago, whenever I am downtown I look for him. Taking this shot of this scene by the Salvation Army reminded me of him.