Social Icons


Monday, July 31, 2017


I hate to admit it but I messed up last week. To begin with, I lost my patience when a crazy driver started honking at me for going too slow down Coast Highway despite the fact that there was heavy summer traffic forcing all of us to go slow, and then I lost my cool.

She wasn’t just honking at me, she was flipping me off as well. And then she changed lanes and nearly took off my front bumper as she swerved in front of my truck and began tailgating other cars. (Yes, I said she.) So I laid on my horn for at least 20 seconds to let her have it. In my head, I’m thinking this crazy person needs to know that she is driving like a crazy person and I’m just the guy to let her know it. What I was basically saying to myself was that she needs a taste of her own medicine and unfortunately, that’s exactly what I did… I acted just like her. 

At first it felt good to lay on that horn and let out my frustration. But then I turned and looked at my wife in the passenger seat and the look on her face wasn’t exactly one of extreme pride in her husband. She just sat there shaking her head. She didn’t have to say anything because at that moment, I knew I blew it. The funny thing is, I have probably averaged 40,000 miles a year on So Cal roads for over 40 years, so I know what to expect and I usually take it all in stride. So what was different this time?

I thought about that question on my way home and I thought about how important it is to be tolerant. For all I know, that lady could have had a sick child in the back seat and was hurrying to the hospital. Or maybe she just had a huge fight on the phone with her husband and was hurrying home to make things right. Or maybe, she has a really tough boss and was late for work and worried about getting fired. I don’t know what her situation was, but obviously she was really upset about something long before I came into view. Instead of honking at her, I probably should have been praying for her.

When I got home, I realized that the speeding lady driver made a mistake… and so did I. We are all human beings and therefore we all make mistakes, but it only makes it worse when we get mad at others or mad at ourselves. I read somewhere that when we make mistakes it’s like being on an anvil. It’s like we are supposed to be God’s tools here on earth but sometimes we get a little rusty, or a little dull, or a little bent. Every good blacksmith keeps his tools in shape and I think God probably does too. So when that happens we shouldn’t get down, we should simply realize that the good news is, God thinks we are still worth reshaping!

You will not be punished for your anger.
You will be punished by your anger.
~ Anonymous

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Triumverate

One of the fun things about living at the beach is that we see a lot of wildlife every single day. Yes, there are a lot of rental homes here on Beach Road typically filled with summer vacationers who party late into the night, but that’s not really what I am referring to when I say “wildlife”. I’m talking about the animals and the sea life that abound both above and below the water.

We moved here five years ago and so far this summer we have seen more wildlife than ever. Such as…
·         Two huge 50’ Gray Whales breaching their full length up into the air
·         Majestic Pelicans that dive bomb out of the sky to catch fish near the surface
·         A steady stream of Dolphins that travel in groups and love to play together in the waves
·         Cormorant Ducks that dive under the surface of the sea and stay there for long periods of time
·         Sea Lions with puppy-like faces that float on their backs and appear to be waving to you
·         And Dogs, lots of Dogs every single day that get super excited about the ocean

Why are there so many people always walking their dogs up and down the beach? I mean, I love dogs and I’ve had plenty of dogs over the years, but this area of Capistrano Beach where we live doesn’t allow dogs on the beach. But I guess that doesn’t matter because I see dozens of people walking their dogs every single day. It’s kind of fun to watch them get excited, chase a stick into the water, and bark at fish they spot swimming near the shore. (Sometimes the dogs even get excited too!) But the question is, why do those three elements – people, dogs, and the ocean - go together so well?

First, they say taking long walks outdoors is good for you because it combines exercise with fresh air. Second, having a dog and caring for a dog is good for you because it lowers your stress and blood pressure. Third, there is something about being at the beach that feels really good to most people. Maybe it’s the sound of never-ending waves pounding the shore, or the smell of the ocean with its ever-present fishiness, or maybe it’s just so darn beautiful that we can’t help but feel closer to God when we are there. Whatever it is, the combination of those three elements is special. Hey, that reminds me of a picture I took this week of a lady, her dog, and a Monk fishk hanging out of her dog’s mouth, a very unique triumvirate. Which reminds me of another triumvirate that will help lower your blood pressure, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost! 

Man is dog’s idea of what God should be.

~ Holbrook Jackson

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Narrow Path

There are a lot of fun things to do when you live at the beach, especially during the summer. One of the things I enjoy most is when my wife and I go for a long bike ride. We always start out on Beach Road, which is a private community, so it’s not crowded at all. But then we hit the public beach area and continue on towards Doheny Beach before heading back home. There are always lots of people around in the summer time, enjoying the weather, so it’s kind of fun to take it all in while getting some exercise at the same time.

Bicycle riding also gives my wife and I chance to talk and share ideas together. She is a constant source of inspiration to me and will often help me come up with ideas for Monday Messages, which is exactly what happened yesterday. At the end of the public beach sidewalk, as you transition into the parking area, there are several short wooden poles. They’re there to prevent cars from driving onto the sidewalk, which seems crazy, but then again I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff going on at the beach. So every time we ride our bikes along this path we have the choice of going between the two poles that are spaced far apart or the two poles that are spaced close together.

I would say that 95% of the people who ride bikes on this path choose to go between the poles that are spaced farther apart. It’s easier and more natural. But for some reason, I always choose the narrow path. Even if I’m alone and riding really fast to get a good workout, I always choose the narrow path. It’s more difficult and a bit dangerous because if you clip one of those stout wooden poles you’re going to slap the pavement pretty hard, but I always choose the narrow path. And yesterday, my wife asked me… Why?

I had to think about that question before I answered. “I choose the narrow path because it’s more difficult and it feels good.” The more I thought about that question, the more I realized that I’ve been choosing the “narrow path” most of my life. When I was a teenager I chose to go to Church on Sunday mornings instead of sleeping in, and it helped me begin my own personal relationship with God. When I was a young man I chose to start my own company instead of working for someone else, and although it was really tough at times, it helped me achieve financial success at an early age. When I chose to adopt a new born child, I knew that it might be stressful, but instead it turned out to be wonderful. When I was a divorced single Dad looking for love, I chose to marry a woman with three young children and while that might be scary for most men, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. And when I decided to start writing Monday Messages back in 2007, I knew it would be hard to come up with a new idea each week, but I also knew that if I could do it, I would feel good about it. Hey, maybe my answer was right! Doing something easy doesn’t feel like anything. But doing something difficult… that feels really good!
The Narrow Path
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
You know what you know.
And you’re the only guy who’ll decide where you go!
~ Dr. Seuss