Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
PSALM 36:5-7 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.Last week I was feeling very worn down because of my job. I was to the point where it was consuming my every thought and even managed to manifest itself into my dreams. I've been considering looking for other employment, but by the end of last week, I was wondering if I could even make it long enough to find another job. I just didn't think I could take it anymore. I cried out to God in complete desperation. Nothing about my job changed. Same sickness. Same struggle. But somehow I feel very different about it now. I still feel its time to start moving on, but God has rejuvenated me and I no longer feel like I'm teetering on the edge of my sanity. Once again, God has demonstrated to me his great faithfulness!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
One of my biggest headaches at work is arranging room assignments. You see, its a difficult thing to determine which sexually maladaptive kid should or should not share a bedroom with another. Most of them are willingly participants to engage in sexual behavior and a majority of them already have their sights on at least one peer they'd like to have some alone time with. Well, today one of my residents informed me he's afraid he can no longer fight the urge to kiss his roommate while he's sleeping. This is just one example of several situations that have popped up recently, so most of tomorrow will be dedicated to making some room changes. And by most of the day, I seriously mean it will require hours of conversation and consideration. The last room change I did took about six hours, and this one will be a bit more extensive, so it might take even longer. Completing room changes requires a bit of history review over each resident. It's important to understand the full spectrum of their sexual offenses and examine these behaviors for patterns. For example, if a resident has a history of repeatedly offending against children who appear much younger than themselves, we need to be sure to arrange accordingly. Likewise, we have many residents who often focus their grooming behaviors towards peers who are or seem older than themselves. Also, we have to take recent occurrences and social dynamics into account. Has one particular resident been especially nice to another recently, such as giving things away to him? If so, we have to consider whether or not this is a grooming behavior, preparing the target for future sexual advances. This also might be a maintenance behavior, where an abusive relationship is maintained through bribery, manipulation, and guilt. On the other hand, we must also watch for the opposite type of behavior. Verbal aggression and hatefulness is sometimes a sign of a sadomasochistic dynamic and sexual tension, which isn't uncommon with this population. It's important to include staff in these conversations. They may not necessarily read into the behaviors like you would because they're exposed to it for 40+ hours a week and become a bit desensitized, but they can describe what behaviors they see, which will help you make a more informed decision. (And don't be upset with staff for not always putting two and two together. This is how they remain sane. It's your job to be crazy here.) Of course, there are policies and legalities to consider as well. Fourteen is the age of sexual consent in Indiana, so no one fourteen years old or older can share a room with someone thirteen or younger. Also, we don't typically place residents together who are two years apart. However, this is not always possible. Lastly, and most disturbing, sometimes you just have to ask the residents, "So, who are you attracted to here? Who get's ya going?" It's hard to do, but sometimes the kids will be surprisingly honest and provide you with a lot of useful, and possibly disgusting, information. Some final pointers: Who grosses who out? Find out, and put them together. Got someone who wets the bed? Good. This is your freebie! No one wants to have sex with him, so you don't have to worry too much about where you put him. Same goes for the smelly kid. But the one who is always so polite . . . watch him close. He's a manipulater. So there you have it! The next time you find yourself contemplating, "How are earth are we going to make sleeping arrangements for all these sexually maladaptive kids?" you'll have all the answers!
Today I met with the dietitian and learned a little bit more about the results of some tests that were ran about a month ago. I am not gluten intolerant as of yet, but I am allergic to wheat, corn, lactose and nuts. The dietitian said it was an interesting combination of allergies because many alternatives to wheat products use corn. Along with these food allergies, I was given more direction as far as what foods to avoid to better address my acid reflux and ulcers. The list of foods I cannot eat continued to grow rapidly throughout this appointment. Its amazing how wheat is infused into nearly everything, including some processed meats! But oddly enough, I haven't had much discomfort or issues with symptoms in a few weeks, so we're undecided as far as how aggressively we're going to address the allergies.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Tomorrow I have an appointment with a dietitian to see what we can do about all these fun issues I'm having. However, the appointment is not the second volume of this saga. Making the appointment is. I love food. Too much. And committing to just talking to someone about how to better manage my health through limiting the types of food I eat was hard for me. I'm pathetic. I know. More on Volume 3 tomorrow!
Yesterday at church, Pastor Kris challenged us to consider what we would do if we learned we had only one month left to live. This has been a hard question for me answer and I've had a difficult time coming up with ideas. Obviously I'd want to spend time with my wife. Maybe make a baby ;o) and try to somehow convey to her how much I love her. I would want to spend time with my awesome parents and let them know what a blessing they are, and make sure my brother and his son know how much I love them. I would go to work and tell all my clients that the therapeutic treatment they are receiving is crap. That self-acceptance will get them no where. That Christ is their only redemption and sole hope for change. Then I would quit my job and never speak to another sex offender for the rest of my twenty-nine days of living. I would . . . Well, I guess it's not really a hard question to answer, as it seems I could go on and on. Maybe it was just getting started that was so hard. Anyway, thanks for making us think, PK!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I was just thinking about how sad I am that the weekend is halfway over already. Then I was reminded that I am one of those people that totally live for the weekend. Every weekday is a battle. I say to myself continuously, "It's almost Friday! It's almost Friday!" hoping it will encourage me somehow. And I've joked about it a lot. I make comments about how I "can't wait 'til Friday" all the time. But not until a few weeks ago did I realize what a meaningless way this is to live life, spending 72% of my days longing for the other 28%. What a waste! So I've been thinking a lot about what it is that makes the weekends so appealing to me. Here's a brief, incomplete, random list: quality time with my wife, visiting family, worshiping God and learning more about Him, spending time with other Christians, escaping the demands of my job, having more time to be creative. When I look at this list, there is nothing too crazy about it. These are all things I can incorporate into my weekly life if I choose to put forth the effort to do so. So my focus this upcoming week is going to be thinking of ways to enjoy any given day of life, making this list become more like of a way of living, instead of only how I spend my weekends. After all, 72% of every week is a huge chunk of time to spend waiting on the other 28%.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Since we spoke on the phone last (x), I've developed a strong concern for (x). I understand that due to his family's situation, he has been staying at (x), and spending a lot of hours in (x). This environment would be prime for a relapse in (x)'s sexually abusive behaviors. I'm afraid that under the emotional strain of (x), (x)'s parents may not be able to supervise him appropriately, allowing him opportunities to interact with children without close monitoring. Considering that only less than (x) months ago (x) disclosed a strong sexual attraction to children and a desire to re-offend, I felt I should express my concern to you.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Today I had to decide whether to do the right thing and possibly risk some things, or to sit by and not take a stand against something I feel strongly about. It was an interesting predicament. I needed to report a concern. I was told to call from a pay phone for 'my safety,' which I believe translates to . . . I think its sad that doing the right thing in this situation could be risky, especially considering that I should be making the community a safer place. Why should I fear doing so? Lame!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The unintended reflection of light into the lens of a camera can create a beautiful affect. The unexpected crack in a singer's voice can lend raw emotion to a song . The accidental smudge of paint on a piece of artwork can add character. But typos are evil. There is no beauty in the blemish of a misspelled word or unintentional use of poor grammar.
Jamaica 2009 FFC Missions Trip from Nathan Harris on Vimeo.
Next week at work I am sharing the movie I made of the house our missions team built in Jamaica. I was watching through the movie yesterday, trying to casually organize some thoughts to share when I show the video.The video was shared during both services at church last Sunday, between PK and I's blog it has been watched 120 times according to Vimeo's counter, and it's also been watched on Milah's blog, Facebook, and YouTube several times. I understand that these numbers are no where near impressive in the scheme of online media, but it's enough viewings to make me really frustrated that I had two typos! So, I obviously wanted to correct these errors before sharing the movie at work this coming week, but the movie was created on Brian Cline's laptop, not my own, so I couldn't edit it. My only option was to recreate it. Now, I wasn't about to spend a couple of hours making a movie that I've already made, so to make the process a little less frustrating, I did make it slightly different. Oh, if I was only such a perfectionist in more useful areas of life . . .
That's when I happened to notice two typos. I was instantly irate. I did a rough estimate, and around nineteen people watched this movie while it was still in it's stages of development, and no one noticed, or at least mentioned, these typos.
Jamaica 2009 FFC Missions Trip from Nathan Harris on Vimeo.