Tuesday, August 31, 2010

083110 Randomness

  • I've been missing my long hair. Not that we had all that many conversations or anything. I just miss it being there. Just hit me a few days ago, months after whacking it all off. Its probably just about my preference to keep changing things up more than anything . . .
  • Just watched the three Resident Evil movies over the last three days. Good flicks! Who doesn't love a good storyline involving an uncontainable virus that turns folks into zombies with hardcore munchies for tasty people-flesh!?
  • Today we visited a pet shop just for the heck of it. Puppies are adorable. Its undeniable. 
  • I've recently grown to love banana flavored slurpee's! Mmm . . .
  • After some uncomfortable days of heat, the temp is back down! Its been getting cold again at night and I love it!
  • I think that next week when I'm off work I might do some painting. Its been a while. But this week's creative project is to organize this crazy mess of photos I have! We still don't have any pictures up on the walls yet in the living room, so this will help that process along. Hadn't taken many pictures in a couple weeks, so today we busted out the camera. Good times! Might try to remember to take it to Round Table tomorrow for some pics of the peeps!
  • I'm officially picking up one extra shift a week at work for the month of September. I hope I don't come to regret it! I doubt I will though, 'cause we need the money!
  • We got some pretty awesome people in our lives. It really just continuously amazes me. We're super blessed!
  • Thinking of giving my blog a make-over. Its been a while! Hm . . .

Monday, August 30, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Forget

What would you like to forget?

Oh . . . maybe late 2003 / early 2004.

Yep. Definitely.

Not a good time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm exhausted. And so blessed.

Today I had to work by myself and the kids were sooooo hyper. Bedtimes were a nightmare. No one was in there own beds. Some kids were fighting. Others were wondering around the house. One was just laying on the floor non-compliantly. I prompted and redirected and consequenced and even begged a little. But no luck. Finally, I just gave up. The entire day had been a fight I just couldn't put up anymore. So I filled the sink with some hot water and started in on the dinner dishes. And sang my lungs out, completely ignoring the kids. And, to my surprise, within ten minutes of a rather soulful improvisational rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (lol), every child was asleep right where there were the last time I'd looked at them. Such a blessing! I was about to lose my mind!

(Then I come home to my amazing wife. And to an amazing e-mail.)

Overall, this week has been the most challenging at work so far. And because of some staffing and program related issues, the next few weeks are unlikely to be any better. Right before this week started, I agreed to pick up 16 extra hours a week, on top of my already full-time hours. The money is needed, but so is my sanity, and I don't want to work myself down to a place personally where I am not able to give my 100% to the kids. So after much consideration, I e-mailed the schedule coordinator today in hopes of renegotiating. One of the extra shifts was a first shift, right before  my usual Thursday second shifts. Thats a 7am to 11pm shift every week for a month. I'm just afraid that this, on top of my full-time hours and the Wednesday evening shifts I've picked up throughout September, will be just too much considering how chaotic the group-home has been.

Hopefully the scheduling coordinator will understand ;o /

So, yeah. I'm exhausted. But I feel blessed to be so tired! Its the kind of tired you feel because of a looong and hard weeks' work. And that's a good feeling to have from time to time!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Food

Write about a food that gives you a specific emotional response.


That's what we used to call it when we'd throw a little bit of this and that in a sheet of foil with a hamburger patty, fold it up, and toss it over the fire to cook. Usually potatoes, green beans, carrots, sometimes corn, mushrooms and asparagus. A dash of salt and pepper. Maybe a little dab of butter.


When I eat them I just think about being with my family, sitting around the campfire back on their farm in Indiana. I can almost feel them around me now just thinking about it; smelling the fire smoke, hearing the crickets and frogs down by the water. And it always seemed like the stars would just shine extra bright on those nights. Big bright stars. And Dad would always sing, "Stars shining bright above me . . ."


Opportunity Knocks in Nasty Ways Sometimes

Today my car got all jacked-up by a kid at work. A big ding in my door needs popped out, and I have some pretty extensive scratches in my hood. There are also some deep nicks in my sunroof and the windshield.

But I didn't yell. I didn't even flinch.

He threatened to bash-in my face with the same rock he so efficiently bashed-in my car with.

But I didn't yell. I didn't even flinch.

Today ten aggressive and mentally-ill young men saw that, to some people in this world, other human beings are more important than things, even expensive things like cars. They saw that, to some people in this world, another person's emotional stability and welfare are more important than their own safety, even more important than their own face. Today three tired and worn out staff were reminded of why they are there doing what they do.

Opportunity knocks in nasty ways sometimes. Just take a deep breath. And open the door. 
Allow the God to do the rest.

Its not always easy, but it gets a little easier every time. Those around you might witness His presence in ways they've never seen before. Today I was amazed and saddened that it was an honest surprise to these children that I would care about one of them moreso than my own belongings.

Such a pity. But God showed them something unconditional today, and hopefully the impression will be a lasting one.

Surrender: A journey taken one step at a time

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." - James 4:7
"Come near to God and He will come near to you." What a reminder! So often we reverse this in our minds, expecting God to perform some sort awesome miracle in our lives as a condition before we will then come to Him. But who are we to demand our Creator to serve us

Surrender is a continuous act of love.
Sacrifice of pride and all things we treasure in life.
And its so difficult at times.

But the invitation to 'come' never expires. Its always there. And I thank God for that, because the second I think I've submitted myself to Him, He reveals a new corner of my heart I've kept for myself. So often, people run from the idea of surrender because it seems just all too overwhelming. But God is patient and merciful. Our efforts will not go unnoticed.

Surrender is a continuous act of love.
A journey taken one step at a time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Celebrate

What can you celebrate today?

It's no longer yesterday!
A brand-new day!

Thank God!

Today . . .

 . . . was a crazy day. Work was crap-tabulous. Lots of fighting. Loads of chaos. Oh, and people suck.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

livers and kidneys and eyeballs and ears and . . .

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.Romans 12:4-5

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Destructive Fear

"The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?" - Psalm 27:1a

What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of spiders? Are you afraid of flying? How about public speaking? If so, you are in good company. A poll once asked people to list their greatest fears. Would you believe, death actually came in second? What was first? Speaking in public. I guess this means that at a funeral, more people would rather be the corpse than deliver the eulogy!

We face many fears in our lives. While some fear is actually healthy, most is not. The fear that paralyzes us, that makes us want to quit, that makes us want to give up, that causes us sometimes to not even try - these are destructive fears. We all need and want strength in facing those bad fears.

The good news is that God will give you the ability to face down these destructive fears, if you'll simply trust Him, and seek His will in doing what is right. He will stand beside you as you face the fear of rejection, or death, or even giving a speech. God gives us victory over the bad fears that cause us to miss out on the joy of walking and living in His will.

*Borrowed from HERE.

So true. I can't explain the feelings of joy of walking and living in God's will when I simply place my trust in Him. When my eyes are on the Lord my fears diminish to nearly nothing, but when I glance away, even if only for a second, the fears flood in and rise to a destructive level. But God never ceases to have mercy on me. He claims victory over my fears and repairs what has been damaged, every time. In my weakness He is strong and mighty.

Today's Writing Prompt: Gender

Write about a way in which you do not relate to many other members of your gender.

I hate sports. All of them.
And cars? Boring.
Anyone up for some shopping?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Tree and Its Fruit

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:43-45

Today's Writing Prompt: Travel

Write about the most important item you like to carry with you for a long day of traveling. 

My camera! I love taking pictures of everything and everyone!
When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”- Psalm 94:18-19

As a Body

Today we worshiped alongside some folks from Generation City: Bread of Life in Oceanside; a ministry branching from Generation City Church, holding Sunday services in the Bread of Life Homeless Shelter.

Getting there was tricky.

We pulled into the parking lot with plenty of time to spare. But with it not being a 'traditional' church setting, combined with the fact that the building was divided into many suites, we were unsure of where to go. We heard worship music coming from one of the several opened doors and saw some 'churchy' looking people entering, so we headed in through that door.

We were greeted so warmly and with such genuineness that it was like nothing we'd ever experienced before. Unfortunately, it didn't take us long to realize it wasn't the church we were trying to find.

Feeling awful about leaving before the service after such a sweet and unexpected welcome, we did our best to slip out the door unnoticed so we could explore further down the strip to find the church we were looking for.

And there he was, squatting down by a wheelchair-bound homeless man and chatting away charismatically. It was Glenn. Glenn is a new friend who I met at work and he is right in the center of some big things that God is doing.  I told Glenn I'd like to visit the Sunday service he helped orchestrate every week and he jotted down the information for me.

So, here I was.

Glenn greeted me with a huge smile. He excitedly shook my hand and jokingly said, "People in California always say they'll come see you or do something for you, but they never do! That's how I know you're not really from here!"

And after relaying to him our earlier experience of entering the wrong place, we learned that it was actually a Filipino church. "Hm, that explains a few things!"

Glenn led worship on a guitar with a single amp, and another man banged around on a beat-box. A homeless man played a rusty old harmonica he brought a long, while another man sporadically shook a plastic, yellow maraca. The woman sitting behind us sang loudly to her own melody and lyrics. She smelled like beer and body odor. She had a large opened wound by her right eye from a fight she had been in just a couple days earlier.

Then the message began. We were in Ephesians chapter 2. The pastor was frequently interrupted by questions, comments, and a few random and unrelated prayer requests. (Most questions were unrelated to the lesson as well.)

It was completely chaotic. And uncomfortable.
Yet so beautiful.

Homeless. Middle-class. Black. White. Hispanic. Able-bodied. Disabled.
People with such different lives. People from different worlds.

And they were all gathered together.
It functioned. In a dysfunctional way.

But it functioned. As a body.
And God was glorified.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Too late

What was the last time you stayed up way too late? Was it worth it?

Recently. Just about a week ago, actually. I stayed up . . . well, all night. Never slept until the following night. Just because I couldn't.

Was it worth it?

Hell no.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why I Sing: Kitchen Sink Praise Sessions & the Conservations They Come To

"I'm very human. Like, really, really. Trust me."
"But you're always singing. Like you're joyful and full of life! You sound like it. Its in your voice or something!"
"Well, that's probably because I am joyful and full of life! We had this conversation just last week, remember? You've told me this same thing before."
"Yeah, but why? How are you always happy?"
"Well, I'm not. Sometimes I'm very unhappy. But the joy I feel and the life that fills me up is there no matter what."
"But how!?"
"The life that fills me up is the Holy Spirit. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and gave my life to Him, His spirit came into me and is always with me now. Understand?"
"Mmhm. So . . . are you a Christian?"
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

Today's Writing Prompt: Fear

Write about something you feared when you were a child.

Remember the old movie Harry and Henderson's? Well, Harry scared the crap out of me.

I mean, sure, looking back, he's all cute and smiley. But seriously, this is the face of a predator, people! Don't be fooled! He's a carnivore! And he looks hungry!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Muse

Write about a thing or person that helps you feel creative.

Tons of things! Daily life occurrences, the bible, the ocean, music, art, silence, people-watching, my MAC, my friends, journaling, blogging, hiking, the city, nature, mountains, kids, reading, movies . . .

ramblings about words and attitude and murder

We are vicious creatures. We commit murder without even batting an eyelash.
Our weapon of choice?


Sometimes the words don't even have to been spoken. Nasty, cruel thinking leads to a nasty, cruel attitude; toxic and poisoning to those surrounding.

And we feel justified somehow, in our way of speaking, our cruel thoughts, our evil attitudes.
All the while leaving a bloody trail of destruction behind us.

I am guilty. So are you.
(Think you're not? Reread the part about feeling justified. This is you times two.)

So when does it stop? Ever?

This isn't just a method of murder. Its suicide.

I can convince myself that my words and the mediation of my heart are justified and righteous, but ultimately, what I'm convinced of means so little.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog Reflects a Part of God

I heart the creativity that went into this!!!

Today's Writing Prompt: Forward/backward

What is holding you back or pushing you forward? 

Fears of inadequacy hold be back, but a drive for growth pushes me forward. God reminds me over and over again that He is with me, and that its through Him all things are accomplished. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Re-certified in First-Aid and CPR.

But, still . . . please don't bleed on me. Thanks.

Oh, and after years of working in this field and being offered the three-set hep vac for free time and time again, I've finally been convinced.

I'll pass on hepatitis, thanks!
Sounds quite unpleasant.

That's all.

le sigh

So, I started having tons of trouble sleeping again. Then I started working and miraculously I slept like a baby for four nights in a row.

And now, here I am this morning.

Its 5:21 am.

I've read. I've prayed. I've blogged.
I've read some more. Prayed some more. Blogged some more.

And I'm not sleepy. Not one bit.

But here in about 4 hrs when I setting in the training room at work trying to pay attention to some boring discussion about blood borne pathogens and what not to do if one of my kids randomly tries to bleed all over me, its gonna bite me in the rear. Hard.


Today's Writing Prompt: Initials

Write down your initials. Come up with words that describe you that start with each of your initials. 

N S H 
Um . . . hm . . .
Oh, gosh! This is trickier than I thought!


Pass or Fail

Yesterday evening after our men’s bible study, I got into a little side-conversation with a couple of the fellows. (Yes, I just used the word ‘fellows.’ And I think I like it.) We were sharing in some hardships we’ve experienced in ‘doing church’ and came upon the topic of what I think can be all summed up to just truly living in community with one another.

This particular subject is my passion. And for being somewhat introverted myself, that’s an odd thing. But I focused my college studies on sociology and intrapersonal relationships. I’ve spent most of my professional life trying to build community with those living on the fringe of society, working to engage in life with them and somehow spark their interest in becoming a part of the rest of the world outside of their own unhealthy niches.

I could babble on for hours . . .

But anyway, back to community building and church. The fact is, we suck at it.

A while back I wrote a post about how we all are gifted in different ways, and that as followers of Christ we have no choice but to learn how to maximize those gifts to share Christ’s love with one another. And I still believe this whole-heartedly.

But it’s not enough.

We must be intentional in all we say and do. It’s a lot of pressure.

But . . . tough!

We’ll fail from time to time. Of course we will. This is a reality.
But not trying is just not an option.

I’m not just talking about kissing each other’s butts, either. No way! Although there are plenty of scriptures about speaking to one another with words of kindness and encouragement, there are also tons that direct us to guide one another in growth and offer accountability.

How could one man provide this for an entire congregation?
Simple. He can’t.
It’s not the pastors’ job.
It yours. Mine. Everyone’s!

Aren’t we grateful when we’re feeling good? When everything in our body is working just the way its suppose to? No aches. No pains. Everything is just . . . fine.

Don’t we notice when something’s not quite right? Isn’t it amazing how an earache, one tiny amount of fluid in a tiny crevice somewhere never seen without a funny little contraption, can completely ruin our day?

I mean, this body is complex. It’s big! But let me tell you, a blister on this pinkie-toe of mine can just throw the whole thing off-course!

Likewise, if we’re part of a body like we’re called to be, we should notice what’s working like it should be, and what’s not. Doesn’t it affect you? If not, are you really one body?

But just noticing isn’t enough. We gotta take the next step! Maybe give a, “Good job, Mr. Ear! Thanks for hearing!” Or perhaps a, “You know, Mr. Eye, I think you have more to offer than just this. Maybe its time to consider glasses.” Either way, speak it in love and truth!

Often, people use the excuse that this is not their strong suite. Know what? Doesn’t matter! Some of the most impacting encouragement and accountability I’ve ever received was from people who either weren’t gifted or comfortable in this area. Knowing that they cared enough about me and what God wants for me enough to step out of their comfort zone means the world!

We have to be intentional.

Being so passionate about this, I often search for scriptures regarding the topic and realize again and again how short I fall of the standard clearly set before me. I’ve seen lives changed; a lasting change, aided by lasting support. My own life included. So I’ll keep plugging away and working at it.

Recently, I’ve found myself inside this vacuum of . . . awesomeness. I’ve got an amazing group of people around me. (On a side note, I use this term ‘around me’ loosely, as several very influential people in my life are thousands of miles away. Their influence despite that distance is a testimony to the power of being intentional!) The past two-weeks or so have been so chalked-full of encouragement. Encouragement in the traditional sense, but also to grow, to weed out certain parts of myself, to nurture others, to excel, to step up. etc. And in this, I feel a certain confidence, yet self-awareness into my inequities.

I can feel the Spirit surging through me. And the thing is, it always is. The Spirit is always in me. But I’m in a place of spiritual health to harness it right now; to be sensitive to it and sense it’s presence. Because not only am I healthy (to some degree ;o) but the body I belong to is healthy, as far as how we function as integrated entities. The benefits are outstanding, and only further fuel my passion for this body to grow and function more and more as God intends, and to see other people’s lives change as mine has been!

So, what’s this post about? It’s hard to say. I'm rambling. It's late.
I guess I’m excited of things that are and things that are to come! I’ve been hurt by unwillingness to share true community (or perhaps just the ignorance of how to do this), and I’ve been healed within its fellowship.

Its a ‘pass or fail’ kinda deal. And just think back to Jr. High! What classes tended to use the ‘pass or fail’ system? PE? Choir? Art? Home Ec? The type of classes where all you had to do was just try and make a noticeable effort! That’s all!

You get the point.

I’ve passed. And I’ve failed. And no doubt, I’ll fail again. But I’m hoping, as God continues to stress the importance of this to me for my own personal healing, for His glory and His Kingdom’s growth, that I’ll more often than not put forth enough effort to . . . pass.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Purify in Reverence

"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

Strip away everything from me that doesn't bring You honor and glory.


  • I've officially survived my first week of work! Six bundles of complete terror, these children are. But I love 'em! 
  • Kimberly and I's work schedules do clash a little, but overall they mesh in a way that we have a decent amount of quality time together. I'm so thankful!
  • I dreamed about home last night. I miss Indiana and all some of the people there! I wanna see how tall the corn is and watch the wheat blow in the wind like golden waves! I wanna sit on my parents' porch and sip on my momma's ice tea while listening to all the critters down by the pond serenade the stars. Sigh . . .
  • I'm making some new friends at work! The social circle is expanding, and I really envision some future ministry experiences with one guy in particular. We share a heart for some very similar things and enjoy the same outlets. He's also involved in a church plant, feels a calling in his ministry to the exceptionally broken, and loves expressing different steps in his walk of faith through his own music. Needless to say, we've had a lot of great conversation.
  • Cali continues to fit us well. We love it here. God is good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Heart

If there were words written on your heart, what would they say?

lost, ransomed
broken, healed
damned, salvaged

Friday, August 13, 2010

And So It Starts

Today was my first day working in the group home.
It was choatic. Absolutely.
And I loved it.

I was slapped. I was called a white bitch. Three kids were technically AWOL.
There was no structure. Very few rules. No consequences.
But there will be.

The kids learned very quickly that I'm not the newbie they expected me to be. I'm seasoned. And I'm not just here to be the next FM (facility manager, how they refer to their lead or primary staff); I'm here to turn things around.

I'm looking forward to restructuring the environment and working with the program specialist to write a new treatment curriculum for the home. Most of the current staff are being transferred to other homes and new ones are on their way. Lots of changes are being made, and I get to be right in the middle.
And so it starts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


  • Yesterday I visited Kimberly at Studio 158, where she works. Its an awesome place and she seems like she's learning a lot and enjoying working there. I'm really happy for her and so proud! And now that she's in this super sleek and trendy studio, she can rock out some super sleek and trendy hair. Yep! She's tickled pink about it, as you can see from her picture!
  • Tomorrow I officially start working full-time for New Haven as an FM2! That means I'm the group-home's primary childcare counselor for the second half of each week. I'll mostly be working evenings from Thursday through Sunday, supervising and assisting six boys with emotional disturbances and mental health challenges between the ages of ten and thirteen. Its similar to youth-work I've done before, but in a very different environment.  I'm really excited! And a little nervous . . .
  • Kimberly and I are just in awe of God and His divine timing. We are extremely blessed and so grateful. After five months of continuous searching we came across a great apartment, and after seven months we both have jobs! Things truly do all work out when you wait on the Lord! He is our Provider!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Carefree

Describe a time that you felt carefree.

um . . .
uh . . .
er . . .

Well, the thing is, I'm a thinker. I can't remember a time when I didn't have something on my mind. Even when I was a little tyke. Not to say I haven't had a great life. I'm just . . . a thinker ;o)

Loving This Song Right Now !!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Six Word Saturday

Describe your life in six words.


Working Man

I've spent this past week in training for a new job.
Its weird.

I had been looking for a job since February, and just last week I came to an interesting convergence, where three employers offered me a job within a two-day time frame. After some prayer, counsel with good friends, and taking into consideration some simple common-sense factors, I came to a conclusion.

I accepted a position at a place called New Haven, a residential treatment facility offering services to youth who have severe mental health and behavioral issues which have impeded their own ability, and that of their peers', to receive a public education. These children most often cannot be safely maintained in their family's homes and are unable to function within the community.

So, although I know I'll be working at New Haven, I'm not exactly sure what it is I'll be doing there.You see, several options have been put out on the table for me. They each have their pros and cons, so I'm just trying to decide which job is best for me considering my skills-set, my ambitions and goals, and practical things such as wages and scheduling.

 But most of all, what job best fits within my true purpose of moving to Cali?  
A) What job will offer the flexibility and schedule necessary to be an integrated part of the church-planting process?  
B) What job will offer the most opportunities to share the unconditional love and mercy of Jesus Christ?
 B) will be the easiest purpose to fulfill, as far as finding the opportunities to demonstrate Christ's love. In this field, there will always be someone offering the chance to give forgiveness and mercy ;o) The difficulty in this area will be maintaining my own sanity ;o)

But meeting the demands of A) will be more challenging. I've made it very clear to the staffing committee that the church plant is my first priority, and one of the committeemen said to me, "We need you here on campus. We don't like making scheduling exceptions, but like I said, we need you. We'll make it work, somehow."
So, I'm praying that . . . well, we make it work somehow.

I'll be sure to update about my work situation soon when it's figured out a little more!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Sheep

Instead of counting sheep, what's something more useful or interesting that an insomniac could count? 

Ugh. Let me just say that, from experience, counting sheep is worthless.

Perhaps counting . . . um,  uh . . . fireflies!

Perhaps counting fireflies would be helpful. It would at least be peaceful and calming, and that's always nice when I can't sleep.

The Rights of Passage to SoCal: Chapter 3

Read chapter 1 HERE
Read chapter 2 HERE

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Preview of Possible Upcoming Post Topics

Tons to blog about, but I don't wanna.
Just not in the mood.

I know.
Weird, right!?

But some possible upcoming post topics might include:
  • my new job
  • the new awesome men's bible study
  • some recent creative projects
  • our home now that we're finally ALL settled . . . mostly
  • adjusting to, and adventures of, life in Cali
  • some other randomness that might just pop into my head