Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Farewell Wana

Yesterday we took my mother-in-law, LaDonna (a.k.a. Wana Sue), to the airport to fly back home to Indiana. It was a great visit, and I can't believe how fast the week went by!

Advent Challenge: Day Three

"Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

Matthew 3:8-10

Day 7: 10 Important People

Ten? Important? Can we define important?
Honestly, there are too many to try to narrow down to ten.

And I couldn't just list someone as being important and not write about why!
Multiply all that by ten, and . . . well, that's a lot of writing.

Besides, I'd hope, or like think, that everyone important to me knows I love them and why.
So, there.  

*And no, not everyone I think is "important" is pictured below, either.

Monday, November 29, 2010

um . . . ouch?

"Nothing triggers the 'ol gag reflex quite like 8:00am."

Advent Challenge: Day Two

"Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh."

Matthew 2:9-11


“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” - Psalm 136:1,26

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dear Advil PM,

I've not been falling asleep 'til about 5am the past few days. The old meds have worn off, and apparently the new ones haven't kicked in yet.

My mind is spinning.
Too many thoughts.
And most of them are unpleasant.

So, its up to you.

Make me sleep. Please.


Day 6: 10 Items You Can’t Live Without

1. My laptop!!!! I tried living without one once. It was bad.
2. A notepad. Gotta have one everywhere I go.
3. The bible my momma got me way back then. Still got it. Read it lots! Sometimes . . .
4. Bottled water. Gotta stay hydrated!
5. Burts' Bees!!!!! Its NOT chapstick! Its Burts' Bees!!!
6. My cell phone. I'm a txt addict. And I feel naked without my phone.
7. Camera! Where I go, it goes.
8. My green carry-all bag. That's what I usually carry items #1 through #7 in!
9. Food. Furrealz. I like to eat. A lot.
10. Uh, yeah, I gotta say it. Hoodie. My brown Mexico hoodie. Its my comfort blanket . . . in the form of a, um, hoodie.

Today's Writing Prompt: Happy

Complete this simile: As happy as...

a monkey flinging poo?

Snapshot: 112810 1800 PST

About to dive into Wana's beans and dumplings, with home-made mashed potato's and diced onions! Mmm!

(It really is delicious, despite what it looks like ;o)

Advent Challenge: Day One

“…. an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21

Do It!!!

 *I'm taking it another step, by writing out a verse or two that jumps out at me each day. You should, too!

Day 5: 10 Wishes

1. Bad habits were easier to kick.
2. Good habits were harder to kick.
3. Everyone could feel loved and purposeful.
4. No one would ever go to sleep hungry.
5. I was debt free.
6. There really was a solution to every problem.
7. Instead of being kinda good at this 'n that, I excelled at one or two specific things.
8. The Canady's house would sell this week.
9. That people would/could just . . . be. No masks.
10. Uh . . . 10 more wishes? I'm greedy!

Set Sail

Saturday, November 27, 2010

“Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”
- 1 Chronicles 16:8

Snapshot: 112710 2000 PST

In the pouring rain.

Somewhere in Los Angelos.

With 6 delinquent teens.
And another staff with adult attention deficit disorder who 'needs' a cigarette.

Lord, help me!

Day 4: 10 Things You want to Say to One Person

1. Yeah, so . . . you're loud. Very loud
2. Did I mention you're loud?
3. Srsly. What is it you're doing to make all that noise!?
4. I've decided you're a hip-hop dancer. That's the only thing I can think of to explain all that stomping.
5. What exactly do you do for a living? I mean, do you, like, have a weird schedule or something? I can't find a pattern in your crazy stomp-around, thump, thump loudness. AM. PM. Mid-day. Midnight. You're simply sporadic. Lets get you into a routine! Consistency is an important part of life.
6. Do you only make friends with other loud people? 'Cuz furrealz, when you have people over, its sounds like an elephant stampede.
7. Do you grill garbage? Just wondering, because whatever it is you're throwing on the barbecue has quite the offensive odor.
8. Lets talk about Jesus.
9. You're loud!!!
10. Has anyone ever told you that you walk like Herman Munster? I'm just trying to imagine what it would be like to live under him in an apartment. I bet it would be a lot like living under you. BTW, do you wear clogs? It sounds like you do. And, is your apartment carpeted? It just seems like it would be really difficult to just casually make so much noise on a carpeted floor . . .

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 3: 10 Things You Hate

1. Poor parenting. Srsly. I mean, sure, without trashtastic peeps out there pushing out babies like its their purpose in life, finding a job in my field of work would be more like a competitive sport. Yeah, these kinds of kiddos do occasionally come from good, loving homes too, but not often.
2. Impatience. Wow, this drives me crazy at times. I often remind my kids at work that, when they get so worked up and and have a melt-down because things aren't going as they think it should, they have basically just reverted back to being two years old. This lack of emotional control and restrain is the exact same fuel that powers tantrums. Its not cute when they're tiny, and its even less endearing when they're super-sized. But find yourself in a delayed check-out line at Wal-Mart, and most likely, you'll find an adult or two escalating.
3. Animal cruelty. Its right there under 'people cruelty.' It takes a sick, twisted person to enjoy inflicting pain to any of God's creation.
4. Hominy. Its just gross. And weird. What the hell is hominy anyway!?
5. Egocentricity. You know, its that "if it doesn't quack like me, then its a messed up duck," kinda attitude. How could one person ever develop the audacity to believe that he or she is the definition of . . . right!? Racism, prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, etc. The whole idea that, "you're not right because you're not like me!" is just, well, ignorant.
6. Math. Yep. Definitely math. (see post Day 1: 10 Things About Me, #9)
7. Gotta say, I hate the devil. Sneaky, trouble-making little fella, he is! Sometimes I think the enemy understands about the heart of man more than the man himself that the heart beats within. And I pretty much hold him responsible for all things included on this list. Yes, that includes hominy. And math.
8. Socks with sandals. I've seen it. You've seen it. Enough said.
9. Addictions. Back to that dang devil again. Probably one of his most dangerous weapons. It tears lives apart. Families. Children. And we all probably have at least one, maybe in the unconventional sense, if we'd think it through enough. God is really all we need to make it day by day. But addictions tell us this just isn't so.
10. Doubt. Insecurity. Depression and anxiety. Sigh. Wouldn't life be grand if we were all just happy!? It seems a bit  . . . I don't know, conceded (maybe?) to wish we could all just like ourselves. Truly like ourselves. But doesn't God command we love others as ourselves? And wouldn't that imply we should . . . love ourselves? When I look at mistakes I've made, character flaws within myself and other people around me, they can usually be boiled down to these kinds of feelings. People wandering through life trying to find themselves. Or comfort themselves on account of who they really are.  We're messed up, but none-the-less, created by the Creator. Chosen. And with purpose. This is probably yet another thing on my "hate list" that contributes greatly to the, um, bountifulness of my career field.

Thanksgiving Picture Time

I was originally suppose to work this Thanksgiving Day, but some things changed at work and I ended up with the day off. Not knowing I'd be home on Thursday, Kimberly and her mom, who is visiting through next week, prepared an awesome meal on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we had another great feast with the whole Pinkerton crew! Although I've been really missing my parents and some great friends back in IN, it was such a blessing to not only have Kimberly's mom here for the holiday, but to also be so warmly included with the Pinkertons!!! They are wonderful people.

Here are some pics from the past 2 days. I hope everyone else out there in Blogland had a great day(s) too!

Day 2.5: 10 Things You're Thankful For

*Today I was supposed write about 10 things I hate. Considering it's Thanksgiving, this seemed more appropriate ;o) 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Cat has Acclimatized to SoCal Weather


She begged for an hour to go outside. I finally let her out, and after about five minutes she was ready to come inside, shivering and acting like she was frostbitten. At this time last year, she was playing in the snow.

And loving it.

seven times more graves than huts

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.

~H.U. Westermayer

Day 2: 10 Things You Love

1. Uh, God! Its amazing, really. I mean, I'm this jacked-up but He still loves me that much anyway!
2. California, my new home! I love it! And I fit here like I've never fit anywhere before. It just feels . . . right to be here.
3. My job. I know, I know. I complain about it a lot sometimes. But I truly do love it! Its a huge part of who I am and how God wired me to be.
4. Art! Art in any form. Music, painting, drawing, graphic design, etc.! Art is the balance between excellence and authenticity. I want it to be fine-tuned enough to win a person's attention, but not so streamlined that it loses grit and relevance. Its a balancing act that I love trying to muddle through!
5. I love hiking. I go through spells, based on fluctuating laziness, as far as how often I actually go hiking. But, yeah. I love it. The scenery, nature, physical exhilaration, the peacefulness. Its good stuff.
6. Food. Mmm . . . food. What can I say? I'm not a robust man for no reason!
7. Writing. Sure, that could have probably been wrapped up into #4 somehow, but I guess I love it enough to make it its own number. Its soothing, cathartic, beautiful as you'd like it to be, ugly as life can get, whatever you want it to be. Sigh. I love writing.
8. A certain shared moment that is rare and difficult to explain. You know, those moments of conversation that just seem . . . pure. No barriers. No bull-crap. Just two people, meshing of the minds. No bravado, "Look what I can do! See how good I am!" kinda stuff. No dominant hilarity or gr! argh! grump-fest. Just connectivity. Its a shame how we isolate ourselves without even realizing it, but that's a post all of its own!
9. Pictures! Yes, this could probably wrapped up into #4 as well. But I love pictures. Taking them. Looking at them. Remembering. See, I wanna remember you. I wanna remember that moment, and who you were in that moment. I wanna remember me. And life. And I love the glimpses into other people's lives that their pictures allow me.
10. Hoodies. Seriously. Like coziness in the form of, well, a hoodie. I even sleep in hoodies from time to time. Hood up and everything!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's Writing Prompt: Paycheck

What do you love doing that you wish you could get paid for? 

Honestly, I can say that anything I love to do, I get paid to do. I wrote about this recently. That's part of why I love my job. I get to counsel my group-home kids, yes, but I also get to sing and play guitar with them, take pictures with them, do arts and crafts, tell stories, play video games, read and teach the bible . . .

Day 1: 10 Things About You

1. I have asthma. Yep, that's me tokin' away on the 'ol albuterol inhaler.
2. Its probably been, eh . . . ten years since I've had unaltered hair color. What can I say? Being a walking, talking advertisement for my wife's mad-skillz is part of my role as supportive husband!
3. I'm gonna be real honest here. I prefer to be pants-less.
4. No offense. I'm not particularly fond of animals of the bald nature. Basically, if it doesn't have fur or feathers, I don't like it.
5. I have an affinity for old barns. And decrepit buildings. You know, they're just cool! The more they're crumbling down, the better! Someone get me a camera, stat!
6. My first official job was as a cashier at McDonald's. Yeah, it was not awesome. Which is probably why it only lasted for about three months.
7. I've never broken a bone before. Ever. Most likely a result of not being much of a risk-taker, or an athlete, or the kind of person who does things that put them at greater risk to break bones.
8. I never moved while growing up. I left home when I was 20 yrs old, but even then, I never lived anywhere further than probably about twenty miles from my childhood home, where my parents still live to this day. Then last May I moved 2, 225 miles away.
9. I have a reoccurring dream/nightmare where I find out I don't actually have a high school diploma and I have to go back to good 'ol WCHS to take some random, horrible math class. Seriously, I graduated from HS in '02, I have a bachelor's degree in sociology, and I completed BSU's undergraduate counseling program! WHY AM I STILL FREAKING OUT ABOUT MY HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA!?!?!? sigh.
10. I have a complete intolerance of impatience. I know. I see the irony. But seriously, I CANNOT stand it when people become frustrated in situations that really shouldn't be that big of a deal! And what did impatience ever solve, anyway? Gr!

10 Day Blog Challenge

I'm always looking for things to write about. So yeah, I'm stealing from Coby again. Not that I completed the last list of prompts I took from her, but eh, it'll gimme something to write about until I drift ;o)

10 Day Blog Challenge
Day 1: 10 things about you.
Day 2: 10 things you love.
Day 3: 10 things you hate.
Day 4: 10 things you want to say to one person.
Day 5: 10 wishes.
Day 6: 10 items you can’t live without.
Day 7: 10 important people.
Day 8: 10 of your favorite songs.
Day 9: 10 ways to win your heart.
Day 10: Final 10 words.

Love This!

Saw this on the back of a pick-up truck.
And think it rocks!
"I've been nailed to the cross with Christ. I've died but Christ lives in me. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me & gave His life for me." -Gal 2:19-20

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Visitor!

Kimberly's mom flew into San Diego just before 8pm tonight. So where's the first place we took her for her first visit to SoCal? In-N-Out, of course! We're so excited to have her here for the week!


Snapshot: 112210 1400PST

Talking to this guy on the phone.
While simultaneously praying his house sells and he moves here soon.

And hanging laundry.
"...Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." - Matthew 19:14

Jesus made time for children. He wasn't pestered or frustrated with their neediness. He loved it. And He didn't just sit aside some precious time from His work to be with them; being with them was part of His work here. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010





So, new insurance. We got it to save money. Kinda.

Well, the new insurance doesn't cover the crazy meds I take to, well . . . not be so crazy and actually sleep at night like a normal person. So, I'm transitioning to a med that is covered, therefore not insanely expensive. The problem is, the crazy med I'm transitioning off of has some wicked withdrawal effects.

Sweats. Chills. Mood swings. Crying. Paranoia. Muscular pain and stiffness. Upset stomach. Dizziness. Panic etc.

So, yeah. Good times. I'm like a hardcore junkie trying to go cold-turkey. Apparently, according to my new doctor, the med I've stopped taking is notorious for terrible withdrawal periods that can last anywhere from two weeks to a month. So, big thanks to my last doc who prescribed them! And the new med? Well, it's not supposed to begin taking effect for at least four weeks. So, you can take the plain 'ol just being Nate crazy and add on the junkie goes cold turkey crazy.

Its . . . challenging.

I've also done some minor damage to a muscle in my right shoulder and knee preforming a restraint at work, and the tension I'm caring in my neck and shoulder from all this  . . . craziness isn't exactly helping the healing process. Oh, I also have a mild case of bronchitis.

This week at work one of my kids cut himself. A lot. I mean, streaming blood down his arm kind of cutting. And that's stressful. I'm responsible for his safety, so yeah, I take those things kinda hard. And it has really effected all my other boys, throwing them into a weird state of mind. Add on the fact that they've pretty much been torn from their already craptastic families and its nearing the holidays, and they're all an emotional mess. Like crazy loopy loop roller-coaster mess. All week.

Oh, and we're broke.

So there. I'm done emoting. I think. For a while, anyway.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Innovator of the Year

A few days ago I was counting my blessings while driving to work. I mean, seriously, I get paid to be me.

You see, being an effective residential counselor doesn't necessarily mean being super smart, having all the right answers, or being able to control people or situations. I don't even need to know every little detail about my clients. Its actually more about knowing myself.

Everything I love, I take with me and share. I incorporate it into what I do in my group-home, and it enriches the lives of the residents. I take pictures with them during activities for their scrapbooks. I sing songs to them and play the guitar. I read the bible to them and teach them about Jesus. I take them on hikes. I play video games with them. I make crafts and art. I build forts out of sheets and string and read stories . . . All while on the clock! A photographer, a rockstar, an artist, a bard, a pastor.  Anything at any minute.

So the next day after contemplating just how blessed I am to get paid to make a difference in the lives of these kids by doing all my favorite things, I attend a ceremony and am completely blindsided to be awarded as Innovator of the Year.

Innovator of the Year? Its still sinking in. I've only been there for about four months! And is being yourself, and being kinda creative, really all that innovative?

I think the moral is: be yourself.
And: God is awesome. That's always the moral, right? I mean, He led me where I am and confirmed His will for me over and over again. He's pushed me and pushed me to be more bold in sharing His love. To be more me. And He's been so present through it all.

So I guess another moral would be: be obedient! He's faithful and will always see you through.
How innovative.

Silent Night

He loves when we sing Silent Night. Its . . . peaceful.

And so I've printed out the lyrics along with the guitar chords, and at least once a day since, we sing it.

Tonight I asked him, "Know what this is about?"
And we then had one of the most beautiful discussions I've ever been blessed to be a part of.
Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


  • This evening it was chilly enough to wear my giant bear feet house slippers. I liked it.
  • I visited my new doctor for the first time today. I think I'll like him. He said I was right between having a cold and the early stages of a mild bronchitis. Booh to that, but yay for having insurance!
  • I'm beginning to feel the holiday cheer! I've been learning to play some simple Christmas carols on the guitar, and am playing/singing them with the kids at work. Good times!
  • I missed my Tuesday evening at Barnes & Noble with Nathan today, but I wanted to be a good friend and try to keep my germs to myself. Maybe next week!
  • Hooray for friends! One of the turn signals of Kimberly's car burned out earlier this week and I couldn't figure out how to change it, and we have no extra money to spare to have it fixed, but our new friend Chad V. not only fixed it for me, but also taught me how to take care of it myself in the future!
  • Speaking of money, we're strapped. Hardcore. Praying for a miracle.
  • God continues reaffirming to me that we're right where we should be, and its such a wonderful blessing!
  • Working on some new songs and loving the process! Can't wait to share!
  • In 6 days Kimberly's mom will be flying into San Diego for a week's visit with us! We're so excited!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Last week at work was very challenging. There were a lot of runaways to chase down, fights to break-up, restraints to perform, escorts to complete, etc.

There was a tension in the air so palatable you couldn't deny its existence.

But this week, peace, or the closest thing to peace when working in a group-home for the emotionally disturbed, seems to be restored.

Thursday, in particular, was an excellent day. I worked a double shift. We went hiking at Mission Gorge (pictures a couple posts down) then went on a shopping run. The day was nearly incident free!

Alas, there truly is a season for everything.
And thank God that, when all is said and done, it pretty much balances out in the end!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A falconer brought in his falcon today at work. So cool!

Hiking with my group-home kiddos!

Today's Writing Prompt: Fear

What do you do when you're afraid? 

Absolutely nothing.

Except maybe pray.

I tend to become completely silent when I am really afraid.

Basically shut down.
Go to LaLa Land.
Zone out.

And whatever other little saying you can think of to imply a . . . lack of presence, such as, "The lights are in but no one's home."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"We are like jars of clay in which treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us." 2 Cor 4:7
"We often suffer but we're not crushed... we never give up. In times of trouble God is with us..." 2Cor 4:8-9
Sweet! A graphic artist told me she liked a piece of my work, then gave me a free tutorial on how to maximize the usability of my designs!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snapshot: 110910 1500PST

White chocolate peppermint latte.

Cranberry and orange scone.

Skyping with Cody Morris.

Good times.

One-Minute Writer: Whats Wrong?

Look around you right now. What's wrong with this picture? 

Hm. Lets see.
Blankets . . . pillows . . .

Oh, right! I'm still in bed. And its 11:27am. Oops!

Monday, November 8, 2010

One-Minute Writer: Who?

Who are you?

Nate. Nate-Nate. Nathaniel Samuel.

I'm a counselor. A caretaker. An artist, writer, singer.
Husband. Son. Friend. Brother.

An extroverted introvert.
Pet owner.
A slow driver.

I'm always late. To everything.
If my wife doesn't know where it is, its lost.

A sniffer. Yes, even socks.

Wearer of great hair.
Beginning guitarist.

Christ lover.
I love that its cold enough outside to see my breath!!!

Making the Most of Your Talents

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things." - Matthew 25:21

A wealthy man had three servants. He was going on a long trip so he gave one servant five talents, one servant two talents, and the other servant one talent. In those days, one talent was a large sum of money. He told each one to make good use of what he had entrusted to them so he could realize a good increase of his investment when he returned.

The five-talent man doubled his talents to ten. The two-talent man doubled his to four. And the one talent man, fearing he might lose it, refused to take risks or even to try. He just buried his.

When the master returned, he heard the report of the five- and two-talent servants. He gave them equal praise, for they both made the most of what was entrusted to them. But the one-talent man who produced nothing, made him furious and he took the talent and gave it to the servant with ten.

Jesus told this story. Communists hate it. The moral — all men are not literally created equal, but all of us have equal responsibility to make the most of what we have. Are you making the most of your talents for God?

*Borrowed from HERE.

Picture Time

The past couple weeks have been very enjoyable, including a visit to a nearby pumpkin patch and taking in SoCal sights with our friend Jocelyn, who was visiting from IN. With our recent complications with the internet, I haven't really posted many pictures lately, so here they are, all at once ;o)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

chaos captivated

The chaos? Uncontainable. Like five tornadoes simultaneously tearing through campus.

Attending to one mini-crisis just to move on to the next.

And then, a flicker of an idea.
Several binder clips, a few tacks, a length of twine, and about a dozen bedsheets.

No young boy could withstand the simple wonderment of a fort.
They gathered around, one by one, chaos overwhelmed by curiosity.

"Blankets, pillows. Go on."
As they scrambled, I dimmed the lights and hunted down a flashlight for effect.

In a matter of a minute, the once uncontainable chaos became five cozy kids captivated in the suspense of scary story.