The Paths We Take


“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?

When that homeless man is your friend


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.

Low Tide

“One of the best moments that can ever happen between a father and his son is that time when the father is just a “grown-up” kid with his kid doing something like walking around the rocks during low tide.”

Navigating through the tide pools, throwing rocks, looking for stuff, etc. and the quiet moments of simply being and being together help bond the souls of the man and his child.

Read more on Steller https://steller.co/s/4pyK9aeEW6c

Hummingbirds and Hawks

Version 2

I took this picture of a hawk on my roof just moments before it joined two other hawks as they battled crows in the air across the street from my house. Their cries were so high pitched and loud that they wouldn’t be ignored this day. My family and I studied these predators and were amazed by their power and ferocity. My wife noticed, amidst all this action, a hummingbird nesting in the very same tree where the hawks stayed.

Being the researcher that she is, my wife web searched this living arrangement and discovered that a certain type of hummingbird strategically nests next to hawks knowing that the hawks will eat the animals who pose a threat to the hummingbirds. I’m thinking of something very philosophical about this coexistence, but the simple truth of it all is that this hummingbird is one smart creature.

Thoughts on Throwback Thursday #tbt


I posted this picture on Instagram and FaceBook on Throwback Thursday. Who switched it anyways? I thought it was Flashback Friday.

My son and I walked through Venice Beach back in 2009 with a Canon Rebel. We were armed with a 2GB card for pics and $25 for lunch.

We had a fun time that day people watching and taking pics. He’s an adult now, so the question is, “Did I provide a lot of memories for future Throwback Thursdays?” Am I providing enough for my wife and daughters?

I think most of us agree that the things we attain and our accomplishments mean very little when we have no one to share them with. Our greatest investments will be time spent with those who are closest to us.

What are you doing to deposit memories in the bank for future Throwback Thursdays?

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 WebMD.com 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.

Lessons from my iPhone camera

Yes, I became one of the millions who all of a sudden became a photo snapping fool after discovering that I could actually use the camera on my iPhone that was within an arm’s reach 24 hours of the day. After some basic tips from a couple of pro photographer friends, how-to’s online, youtube videos, and learning from fine artists on Instagram and Flickr- I think I am actually gaining some skills on the art of capturing life. But that’s not what this post is about.

For the past 6 years of taking at least 1 photograph everyday, I realize that no matter how much technology is crammed in this pocketable and delightful device, the camera is very limited when compared to dedicated cameras. The lesson that I am repeatedly learning is that it is about what I do with what I have.

  • Photography Lesson #1: Composition is crucial. I learned that the decisions about what’s stays in the frame and what doesn’t and where the things are inside the rectangle makes a difference. Life Lesson #1: Be intentional and even more thoughtful of my priorities, relationships, and endeavors. I know it is easier said than done, but I need to live every day with vision.
  • Photography Lesson #2: Lighting is everything. Great lighting usually results in great results. Poor lighting brings a lot of challenges. Life Lesson #2: Lighting is the same with the decisions I make. Ok, most choices made in my waking moments are not a matter of life and death, but informed, thoughtful decisions usually have positive results. Doing some homework, getting insight from the sages in my life, and praying are the best ways to bring light into my situations.
  • Photography Lesson #3: Edit with a cause. Most photographs aren’t complete without an editing process. Enhancing or desaturating color, adjusting lighting, and even cropping something out are done to develop a pleasing image. Life Lesson #3: Most accomplishments are not going to be right the first time. There’s always a process. Adjustments have to be made. Things may need to be cropped out. My edits determine my results.

I will eventually get a dedicated camera with a lot more features and capabilities, but what matters right now is what I have in my hands and what I do with that. The best compliment that I have received was from an event photographer who asked me, “Did you really do that with your phone?”

Don’t wait for whatever upgrade or next big thing you are waiting for. Do the best with what you currently have. Be intentional. Do things on purpose. Do things with purpose. You may not get it right the first time, so edit until you get the right results.

Yes, I took the picture of my cat with an iPhone.