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!

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.

1-Minute Monday Story “Shipwrecked”


Or should I say Jenny-wrecked? Jenny was the name of Ben’s tiny boat. Ben drove Jenny out to the harbor on calm days to have a few beers with either Phil or Stan. They both have said on many occasions that they would end up steering the boat back to the marina after Ben had one too many.

But this night, Phil was out of town and Stan’s wife said that Stan was “unavailable.” So this night, Ben decided this was the perfect night to spend with Jenny, a stack of CD’s he bought at a garage sale, and a case of beer. It felt like he would have the serene harbor all to himself.

Somewhere past 6th beer, Ben saw that Jenny was wandering out of the harbor and into the open sea. Then he thought that it was simply a dream. “I’ll just keep napping for a little bit, then I’ll wake up and take Jenny back home,” Ben told himself.

Ben woke up to blinding daylight and the thunderous blast of a water crushing the side of Jenny. In one motion of panic and bewilderment, Ben leaped off the boat onto the beach and ran towards small crowd that had gathered to watch the beached boat.

I don’t know how Ben managed to escape without a scratch and pull Jenny out of shorebreak, but he did. To this day, Jenny sits on a trailer in Ben’s driveway. Ben shares his story with anyone willing to listen: a story about his night with Jenny, a stack of CD’s, and a case of beer.

Notes: Thanks for reading. I plan on sharing a 1-minute story every Monday. I appreciate your feedback. Do you like my fictional stories more than the poetry? Do you prefer the fiction over the articles with words of encouragement? Thanks again!

Thoughts Over Coffee


For the past few years, on every weekday morning, he sat by his apartment window to drink and think over his carefully prepared coffee. However, for many weeks he pondered life outside his urban maze. This day, in his quiet sanctuary on the 2nd floor he heard rural whispers as an image appeared on the surface inside his cup. 

He stared into his cup, picked up his phone, and called the office. He notified that he wouldn’t return for another week. “I’m not OK, but I will be,” is how he ended the conversation. Instead of heading to the office, he began to pack his backpack for his unplanned trip beyond the city’s boundaries to find the place he saw in a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading my 1-minute fictional story. I wrote it a couple of years ago on Backspac.es and breathing new life to it on my blog. Please comment below and share your thoughts on this story. I appreciate your feedback.

Knowledge is good. Wisdom is better.


I think I know more now at almost a half-century of life than I did a couple of decades ago. I foolishly thought that I knew it all when I was out of college at 24, but the more I know now, the more I realize I don’t know much. There is a Jewish proverb that says that wisdom is better than gold.

Wisdom is not the amount of knowledge you have but applying the knowledge you have. You can know how to make money, but the wisdom is in how you use that money. You can be an expert at driving, but if you are constantly getting traffic tickets then that knowledge is not being maximized to your own benefit; let alone any good for anyone else.
Wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. Many times, wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Wisdom is selectively choosing relationships and endeavors that may not seem popular. Wisdom is the voice that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Many times, wisdom requires courage to see it in action. Wisdom requires courage because the decisions you make influence others linked to you.

The sign in the picture says, “You know more than you think you do,” and let me add that the greater challenge is to apply what you already know to benefit yourself and those connected to you.

 

Quotes by El Gran Queso

The 3 latest quotes from El Gran Queso:

“The only thing you are entitled to is a headlock. “

“I am going to get food truck and sell knuckle sandwiches.”

“The only place it’s ok for a dude to wear tight pants is in the ring.”

Swish!


I get to work with kids as a children’s pastor at the church I have 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!

Read the Steller version here: https://steller.co/s/4dWAXH7wfvG

Wedding Singer Worries

Just an hour earlier the wedding singer zipped through the city like a wedding singer should if he is running late to his gig. He glanced at his to-do list on his phone and was determined to make it to the wedding reception in time. He picked up his suit at the dry cleaners, grabbed a cappuccino 4 blocks further, and bought breath mints & water at the gas station 7 blocks after that. His band greeted him with boos and smart remarks, but they were ready to rock the reception. Their opening set was a smashing success with the wedding guests begging for more. The wedding singer looked out the window overlooking the city, and the sinking feeling overcame him as he noticed his pockets were empty. Where did he leave his phone?

Thanks for reading my latest 1-minute fiction. If you like my content, please write your opinions and thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate your feedback.

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.