Thursday, December 29, 2011

From the mouth of babes 122711

"Can I have that? Please!?!? I want to eat that! Come on! Please!?!?!"

Ice chips falling from thawing bacon.
That's what he wanted.
That's what he begged for.

Of course, I did not oblige.

I mean, raw turkey bacon flavored ice?
I think this picture is incredible!
Wish I would've came up with it myself.

I am definitely gonna try to recreate one day though.
Just for the heck of it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

school. And freaking out.

I've been looking into different options for going back to school.
(insert freaking out here)

I love my job. I love working the front line.
But will I always love it?

Will it always be doable?
Restraints in my fifties? Low pay forever? These hours forever?

I'm restricted in my field. There's not much more I can do unless I add to my credentials.

Ergo school.
Ergo freaking out.

I've been trying to avoid the idea. But the idea has been pursuing me.
Everywhere I turn it seems to come up.

So here I am. Looking into school. And freaking out.

mutual weirdness

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

-Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snapshot: 122711 1700 PST

*Beautiful sunset, with my beautiful wife.

Snapshot: 122611 2000 PST

Game time with Kimberly and Kate.

Yahtzee Flash.
Apples to Apples Dice.
Fact or Crap.

I happened to be a Fact or Crap rockstar tonight.

Good times ;o)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lol furrealz

"'Emmanuel! Jesus has fluffy wings like a dove!' Ugh. I'm over Christian music. I wanna hear about how badass Jesus is!"

Lol. Sadly, I agree sometimes...

MOG 122611

Almost had a minor anxiety attack.
Almost. And emphasis on minor.
The world just got a little whirly twirly for a second.

Thank God for blessing me with a great wife.

gratitude of those

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

-Albert Schweitzer

'Tis the Season

*Christmas services, Christmas parties, Christmas meals, Christmas gatherings...
'Tis the season!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MOG 122511

Its Christmas! I'm happy, of course :-)


Its such an ugly thing...

robbing those who love you the most,
robbing those who'd never allow the needs of another to go unmet.

Its an ugly ugly thing.

Barreling down the road of destruction, all too familiar to us all.
We've seen you make this turn.

Again. And again.

There are no excuses; just choices.
There is no one to blame; just yourself.

So go ahead, spin your tires until they're bare.
But mind the mud you fling in the process;
everyone already has enough dirt of their own.
They don't need yours.

And please, leave ruts in your own yard.
No one else should have to fall into the pits you leave behind.

We have our own tracks to make.


An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."     -Luke 2:9-14

Friday, December 23, 2011

And so on...

Today I drove three sixteen year old kids to LA to visit their families for Christmas weekend. They were kids I don't often see, and a few years older than the kids I've mostly worked with over the past year and a half.
As if it wasn't bad enough to be driving in LA on a Friday night two days before Christmas, doing so with these kids in the van made it even worse.
Absolutely no respect for themselves or anyone else.
Completely vulgar. I mean FOUL.
And.... dumb.
Just dumb.
The way they view the world is a terrible thing. So unfortunate. Although they are still young, they're grown beyond the age of plasticity. They're rigid in their way of thinking and in their way of living.
They're committed. They will create yet another generation to take their place when they're gone. And so on. And so on...
And all we can do is pray for them.
And so on. And so on...

From the mouth of babes 122211

"That's some ghetto shit. I knock a girl up, I ain't gonna call her no baby mamma. I be marrying that bitch and call her my wife!"

- He's fifteen. It should be illegal for some people to reproduce. Some gene pools should be drained.


"Grrracias!" Get it? Grrr? Tiger?
 Okay, maybe that wasn't as clever as I thought...

But what is clever is this super awesome gift from my parents. Last year they bought us a membership to the San Diego zoo, and this year they renewed it!

A gift that keeps giving.

Kimberly and I both love animals and the zoo is a great place to spend time together.

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Snapshot: 122211 1100 PST

Moving the Canady's from our apartment to their own. Its kinda exciting for us all. But I'm gonna miss living with that Jude baby, among other things. I love those people...

MOG 122211

- Hard to describe. Playfully irritable? Friends say I'm saucy. Saucy? MmK.
- Not so motivated towards health the past three days
- Excited about Christmas :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five words.

"I don't believe in Jesus."

Seeking? Uncertain? Ambivalent?
I've lived within each of these stages of faith.
I understand them. I know them.
It all seems so natural and normal to me; part of a process.

But when I heard her say those five words...
When I heard her say, "I don't believe in Jesus," my heart dropped.

I can't quite describe how I felt in that moment, or why I felt it.
But it was a powerful feeling. A sorrowful one.

God, please help her see.
Five words.

“No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him…” 
-John 6:44

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snapshot: 122011 1400 PST

Nate and I went on a big hike today. And when I say big, I mean over five hours long. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful, and lots of great conversations were had. At the highest peak of the mountain we found a black box containing journals in it for people to write in. It was really cool to read other people's thoughts and experiences on the mountain. One woman hiked the mountain because she was feeling far from God and borderline suicidal. Her last memory of feeling alive and close to her creator was at the peak of the mountain, so she returned to the spot seeking peace. Another hiker logs that he isolated himself on the mountain to get high, and wrote that he was so 'baked' he could barely hold the pen to write. Some wrote poetry. Some carefully printed scriptures. Others just signed their name. It was a great example of the wide range of people that had made it to the peak and watched over that beautiful view. Its amazing how many kinds of people there are in the world...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snapshot: 121911 1800 PST

Branches Christmas party.

MOG 121911

Better ;o)


Every year the ornament goes up on the tree.
Its bittersweet.

Remembering your awful death.
Rejoicing in your awesome Life.

Celebrating Christmas with Christ Himself, there's no reason to mourn for you, but selfishly we do.

I'll never cease to be grateful that God shared you with us.

I'll never stop loving the orphaned because of what you taught me.

Merry Christmas!
We love you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Snapshot: 121811 1800 PST

About to conquer this badboy with a kiddo from work.

This could get dangerous...

MOG 121811

-lots of drive: wanna get things done
-creative juices flowing
-feeling a little down, dejected
-optimistic (doesn't seem to fit, huh?)

snapshot: 121811 1300 PST

Just ate three days worth of calories at Charro's.
But DANG it was good.

over me

Sometimes I feel like no one really gives a damn about anything I have to say.
Not that I really have much to say worth giving a damn about.

But still...

I'm also feeling a bit... well, I'm not sure what the word is. I'm giving all I can ('ALL' might be a slight exaggeration :-) to support others, but its not seeming quite so reciprocated. Kinda one of those "help me help you" type things.

Guess I'm just overall feeling sorry for myself.

Gotta get over me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Next few months

His mother works hard to support her family.
She's going to school to ensure a brighter future.
But he doesn't see any of that.
All he hears is, "Not now, honey. Mom has to study."
"Not today, dear. Mom is picking up some extra hours."
Not now. Not today. No. No. No.
And so here he is, just months before transitioning from this group home back into his mother's care, and he's completely derailing. He doesn't want to go back.
He doesn't want to return to a lonely life.
So, is this a success or a failure on our part?
He feels attended to with us; loved and heard. Important.
But he doesn't want to leave. That's a problem.
How have we prepared him for the world outside of residential treatment if he never wants to leave?
Alas, whether we've failed him or not, he's going nuts in hopes that if he acts out enough he won't have to leave.
This means a lot of yelling and being ignored over the next few months...
Prayers :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

From the mouth of babes 121611

"You've done this! This is all your fault! My entire life is ruined because of you! You're evil! Evil!!!"

- I couldn't help but chuckle. The dramatics of it all are hysterical, especially if you were to see the kid it's all coming from.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snapshot: 121511 1200 PST

Climbing a mountain with these guys.

MOG 121511

I've mentioned before about some struggles I have with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Over the past few months I've been addressing those issues more aggressively, coming to realize how much they were effecting my life and my lovely wife.

I had been referred to a psychiatrist by my family physician for a proper diagnosis. I knew that an accurate diagnosis would most likely result in an accurate treatment, but scheduling the appointment made it seem all too real. Its easier to pretend there are no issues when the issues remain undefined. I understood that by seeking professional help, repression and denial would no longer be an option.

With some much needed support, I did manage to make the appointment though. Since that first meeting, a lot has changed. God has provided me with great resources and good care providers.

I'm now shifting into a maintenance mode: how to maintain and continue progress. One important thing to determine is whether or not the downturns in my mood and perception happen within a specific pattern, and if so, what that cycle may look like. Simply gauging this in itself is a healthy habit to have.

So I've been assigned the task of keeping a mood log, and I've decided to do it via blogging. Mood logging? Mogging? Yes, I like that! Mogging. I've decided to do it this way because it's easily tracked by using tags on my posts, its super quick and easy to do from my phone, and I'll most likely be more consistent with it if I do it here. I also like the transparency of doing it here, although that might change when my mood isn't so great :-) Regardless, here is my first Mog:

- feeling energetic, cheerful, accomplished
- slept very well last night
- only mildly irritated at work, which seems reasonable considering...
- been enjoying exercising and hiking lately, and feel motivated to eat carefully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snapshot: 121011 1200 PST


Dear FaceBook Girl Complaining About Men,

You ask, "Why do I seem to only attract #$%&s ?" but do you really want to hear the truth? Seriously, look at the pictures you post of yourself. Review your status updates. If you're waiting on Prince Charming to pull up in his pick up truck, get some class. And dignity. If you want something better in life, become someone better in life. Become someone who deserves something better. Just some thoughts....

Dear Kids Trying to Break into My Group Home,

Don't make me lose my job, because that's exactly what will happen if you ever succeed at getting into my group home. I will not react appropriately. These kids are crazy enough and do not need your help. So destroy your own group home next door, and let your own staff deal with you. Thanks!

Dear Person Searching for a Reason,

God is full of mysteries. Getting stuck on one obstacle isn't really getting stuck. Its giving up. There's plenty of theological topics to you chew on, so take the next bite. But don't give up. But if you do give up, at least recognize that its a choice you made. Its not something the pastor said, something you read in the Bible, or something that happened at church. Its you. Giving up. We endure more for less.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snapshot: 120611 1400 PST

Sitting on the patio of  Escondido Joe's, 
drinking my hot chai latte 
and an old man walks by and says, 

"You from Alaska? Its cold out here!"

I said, "Nope. Indiana. I'm guessing you're a native?" 

"Born and raised!" he replied with a chuckle. 

It's 60'F outside :-)


Isaiah: I'm shaky.

Me: I thought you were Isaiah.

Isaiah: But I am Isaiah.

Me: But you just said you were Shaky. So who are you, Isaiah or Shaky?

Isaiah: My name is Isaiah and I have diabetes, so my body doesn't make enough insulin and that makes feel shaky sometimes.

Me: Oh.

*This kid. He's four. And incredibly logical for his age. And adorable.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snapshot: 120311 1400 PST

Playing guitar here while kids from work fish. Good times :-)

I heart this quote!

*thnx for sharing, -V-  ;o)

Snapshot: 120211 1800 PST

The thought of it left me disgruntled. I hate to admit it, but its true.

I mean, these kids? A Christmas tree lighting ceremony? With lots of people? And sugary sweets?

I expected a disaster. They just can't handle much stimulation. But with a few minor exceptions,  the evening was disaster free.

And the best part? We took a horse drawn carriage ride. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but one kid in particular just smiled and laughed the whole time, shouting "I like this!" over and over again.

And that made the hassle of it all worth it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." -Romans 8:18

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Its Sunday. My Friday.
Thank God!

My week in Indiana was great, but definitely go-go-go. I had one day off after my return home before going back to work. Because of Thanksgiving, there was only one kid left behind in the group home for the weekend. This made for a very laid back week at work, but also somewhat emotional. That one kid left behind, well... he felt left behind. He misses his mother, which is only amplified by the holidays, so he's been on an emotional roller coaster and us staff have been on it with him.

So now I have three days to leave behind his drama and live in my own :-)


Saturday, November 26, 2011

I cant imagine.

I can't imagine living the life of some of these kids I take care of.

Having a homeless mother. Unsure of her safety. Not knowing when I'll see her next, and having every reason to believe I might never even see her again.

And the holidays. Seeing everyone leave for weekend visits, coming back with grand stories and bags of goodies.

All while staying behind.
Hoping. Praying I'll see my mother soon.

Praying I'll see her again.

I can't imagine.

Friday, November 25, 2011


  • Out of stubbornness and a distaste for the usual, I refuse to write a Thanksgiving post. I'm thankful. There.
  • I love the movie Elf. Its grown on me recently.
  • I suddenly, unexpectedly, and unexplainably lost my mind today. Just a little.
  • Its good to be home with my wife after my trip to IN.
  • I love Zombie Farm.
  • I'm feeling the Christmas spirit a little early this year. Look out Grinch...
  • It felt good to get back to work today.
  • I wanna create something incredible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011


Somethings never change. Which is a shame.
But certain times, when other things never change, its perfect.

he's doing good

"Mr. Nate! Mr. Nate!"

I hadn't been called that in years. It was disorientating. Familiar and foreign, all at the same time.
My brain stalled. Finally, it hit me.

I looked to my left to see a tall, lanky black kid with a huge smile and big, bright eyes. He was obviously a kid I'd taken care of while working at the Youth Opportunity Center. That's what they called me there; Mr. Nate. And he appeared to be around the age the kids I worked with there should be now.

I didn't recognize him though. I've met and cared for so many kids over the years. Who was this one? My heart broke instantly. He not only remembered me, but he was beaming with happiness to unexpectedly run into me. I wanted to remember him so badly, but I just couldn't.

Then I knew who he was, without ever recognizing him. "CJ?" I asked. "Yeah, Mr. Nate! Its me, CJ!" I looked into his young adult face and searched for a trace of the little boy I used to know. I couldn't find him, except for maybe a little around the eyes.

We engaged in small talk for a few moments, then just as we began to part, he stopped me, saying, "I'm doing really good Mr. Nate. I'm staying out of trouble, and I'm never getting into it again. I wanted you to know, I'm doing good."

When I made it out to my car, I cried a little.
He said he's doing good. And I can tell he really is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I like airports. Airports make me feel cool.

Today's Writing Prompt: Babysitter

Write about a memorable time someone babysat you when you were a kid, or about a time you babysat someone else's child(ren.)

There were these kids I'd babysit every now and then. A brother and a sister. They were kinda relatives of mine, in a way. I was in high school. One afternoon I was watching them and Kimberly met up with us to go to the park. I can't say for sure, but I think the little girl may have had a crush on me. Either way, for whatever reason she did not like the fact that my girlfriend at the time (now my wife ;o) was joining us. So that evening, after the kids' parents returned from their day out, the little girl told her mother that Kimberly and I had been making-out the entire day, which was far from the truth. I'm pretty sure the mother never believed me when I told her that it wasn't true.

Some pre-trip thoughts

- My alarm clock is set to go off in three and a half hours. I should just turn it off. I can't fall asleep knowing I have to get up so early, anxious that I'll oversleep. Gonna try and make it to the airport around 5am. Ugh.

- My dance card is getting awfully full. Not sure how I'm going to manage all these plans for visits that have been thrown together over the last several hours. I'm looking forward to each one of them, I just hope everyone understands I'm shooting for quality over quantity, meaning: lets make this short but sweet. 'Cuz I gotta make family time my priority ;o)

- Pizza King? Yep! Already have my first Pizza King date all lined up ;o) Thanks, Jocelyn!!!

- I hate packing. I'm always afraid I'm forgetting something.

- I'm going to see my brother while visiting home. We've had a few brief chats over the phone here and there, but we haven't seen one another in person for two years. And even before that, we never spent much time together since we were both really young. I'm sure we've changed a lot. It'll be nice to get to know each other again. There's nothing to be anxious about, but I am a little nervous... Dumb me.

- I'm not expecting snow, but I am hoping for it! Or at least a thunder storm. I miss those.

- I have my camera battery all charged up! Hope everyone is prepared to be annoyed ;o)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: Friend

Complete this thought: A true friend is someone who . . .

Is there for you even when they don't really understand what it is you need them to be there for. Someone who doesn't just hope you get what you want, but hopes you get what you need. Someone who makes you want to be a better person, all while making you feel good about the person you already are. Someone trustworthy. Caring. Prayerful. Someone to laugh with. Someone you share a common thread or two with. Authentic. Transparent. Someone who doesn't condone your flaws, but can befriend you regardless of them. Someone who offers accountability and accepts it when reciprocated. Someone honest. Goodhearted. Forgiving. Thoughtful.

Its a tall order to fill.
Yet somehow I find myself in the midst of people who do.

Yep. I'm blessed.


Tomorrow I'm flying out to Indy at 6:30am. I'm not excited about the early flight, but I am excited about the trip. My parents will be picking me up at the airport, and I can't wait to see them!

as myself / weeds

This last weekend, my awesome friend Nate Canady provided the message for the Branches' Sunday morning service. As far as I know, its the first time he'd ever really done something quite like that, and to no surprise, he did a great job. In fact, I can't remember a single incident where Nate failed to do anything but great at whatever it is he does. He's one of those people. And I so am not. He just knows a lot, and is talented in a lot of ways. I like to give him a hard time about it. And of course, at the very core of my humor is a tiny seed of envy. Okay, maybe its more of a sapling

So, I believe it was no coincidence that last week's particular message from Matthew 23 came from his very mouth. God is tricky like that. Nate talked about loving God; the great commandment. And he talked about loving others as yourself. As myself.

Nate hit on some key points that stuck with me on the subject of loving others as yourself. What do I want for myself? At what lengths will I go to get those things? Do I want these things for other people? Do I help other people obtain these things?

If I loved others as myself, if I loved my dear friend as I love myself, wouldn't I rejoice in his accomplishments? Wouldn't I be grateful for his skills and knowledge? Don't get me wrong here;  I'm happy for the guy, but would this twinge of envy be in my heart if I truly obeyed the commandment to love others as myself? Wouldn't I be stoked to be gifted like that myself?

God has revealed something new in my heart for me to work on. There's a whole lot of love in this heart of mine, but its a garden scattered with random weeds in it here and there. And even the tiniest imperfection has got to go.

So, there. Those are my thoughts.

Thanks for making me think, Nate. Stupid jerkface know-it-all!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Six days and counting...

...until I fly home.

I'm getting more and more excited.
Can't wait to see my family!

And Pizza King...
Mm, Pizza King...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wrapping up a very peaceful, lazy weekend. I've caught up on some creative projects, taken naps, and played video games.

Its been nice.

I go back to work tomorrow, and that will be nice too.

Its a good life.

Snapshot: 110911 1900 PST

Just saving the world. Whatev.

Monday, November 7, 2011

From the mouth of babes 110611

"What for?"
"Oh, I just keep smelling you. Like this, 'sniff, sniff.' Its weird, I know.'

Snapshot: 110711 0100 PST

I couldn't resist. The chicken tortilla soup was just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be microwaved. It was even already conveniently portioned out and stored in a nice little bowl for me! So in the mic it went until it was piping hot, then I sat out on the nice cold patio and ate every delicious bit while reading. It was ten minutes of bliss :-)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Upcoming Trip to the Motherland

I'm going home in two weeks; that is, I'm flying to Indiana for a visit. Part of me is indifferent to the idea of going back, but another part of me is excited. I miss my parents and their farm. I miss the cold and rain. There's a handful of people outside of the family I'm happy to see, too.

But I'm just a bit apprehensive about the trip. What will it feel like to be back? Outside of good times at home with my parents and growing up and falling in love with Kimberly, I'm not exactly full of fond memories of the motherland. Although I've missed my family, moving to this new place has been great for me.

Naturally, living 27 years within the same 25 mile radius, I consider the area of Winchester, IN home. But as I grow as an individual here in SoCal, as I grow closer to Christ in service to him here, this too feels like a natural place to call home.

Maybe my divided heart is the source of my apprehension. I don't know. But it'll be interesting to see exactly how I process being back; to see what emotions it invokes.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited. I'm happily anticipating the trip. I'm just a little... nervous?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Fesitval

On Monday I took my group-home kids to New Venture Church in Vista, Ca for a Halloween festival.

A Halloween festival.
Not a harvest party. Not an autumn bash.
A Halloween festival. On Halloween day.

There was a petting zoo there. A magician performing. Live bands.
Over a dozen bouncy houses and slides. A couple rides.
Human bowling. Laser tag. The Velcro wall jump thingy.
And a VIP room stocked with pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes, and soda.
Oh, yeah. And there was candy by the barrels. Literally.

Basically, it was all free.

It truly was an outreach. Fall parties are a great substitute for churches and families not wanting to participate in Halloween activities (Although, eh hm, would a rose by any other name smell just as sweet? Uh, yes.) Anyway, these types of things are really directed towards people already involved in the church. People who share similar beliefs.

But this Halloween festival I went to? All sorts of people, all sorts of ages were there. Hundreds and hundreds of people. No one was looked down upon for dressing up a little too scary or gory. Ironically, I even saw a couple devils there.

Jesus wasn't a discussion. Jesus was a demonstration. People of the community were loved on unconditionally. If I wasn't so busy chasing after my kiddos, I would've taken notes.

I was that impressed.

And if nothing else, practically, a couple hundred kids were kept out of the streets for a night and had fun safely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

randomness 103111

- This week at work has been awesome! Lots of fun fall activities with the kids!
- Speaking of work, man I've been doing it a lot recently. Sixteen extra hours this week!
- Looks like I'll be making a trek back to the motherland soon.
- I've been feeling creative lately but have lacked in follow-through. No new songs or projects in a while.
- I've been doing lots of restraints over the past month. There's a kid at work that just can't keep his crap together. I'm over it.
- Bring on the chill! I'm ready for it!
- I need new shoes. And I hate shoe shopping. I really hate it.
- I love the Branches!
- I need to visit the ocean soon.
- We've all been on a crazy vitamin kick lately. I gotta say, I've been feeling pretty good. Even sleeping!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Keeping it real 103011

"Can you kids be good long enough for me to poop!?"


Church notes 103011

Matthew 20:20-28

Two brothers send their mother to Jesus to seek a high position in his coming kingdom.

     - Jesus challenges them to consider what they're asking and to consider the suffering necessary as followers of Christ. "Can you drink from the cup I drink?" Etc.

Matt 20:26 "but whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your servant, even as the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
   -servitude should be lived out, opposed to the worldly concept of greatness
   -humbleness, selflessness, operating not out of pride

- I must examine myself in comparison to Jesus, measuring pride vs. humility.

Humble people:
-fear the lord
-are Christ-like
-accept their place
-make good leaders
-consider others
-are quick to repent

By nature, we are not humble. Humbleness takes pursuit and is fruit of a relationship with God.

Pride and humbleness are easily confused and can look similar. If you're avoiding sharing gifts or leadership to avoid attention or to appear humble, you are focusing on others perception of you, which is PRIDE.

What can we do to become less egocentric and more others/God-centric? How do we become more considerate, loving others before ourselves?

What would happen if we no longer expected to be served, but lived to serve others and God?

     - To truly understand God is to accept we have nothing to offer him for our salvation. We make no contribution. Its an undeserved gift we must gratefully and humbly accept, without pride.

     -there is a joy in surrender to servitude and freedom of living a life without pride

Friday, October 28, 2011

Keeping it real 102811

"Resident M ran through the house yelling 'Llama! Llama!' in his peers' faces and made many references of various sexual acts with llamas."

-Something I'd never written until now, and I've had to document some messed up stuff over the years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I was introduced to Palomar Mountain last Wednesday, and I loved it so much I went back yesterday! My new favorite place!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

They Know

These stinkin' kids. They drive me crazy.
And they're bad. Really bad.

But I love them.
God has broken my heart for them.

And they know it.

They know I can't stand them.
They know I love them.

They know I keep coming back because God makes me.
They know there is a God who loves them enough to make me love them too.

They know.


Dear crazy chick,
     I'm gonna avoid you like the plague. Cuz that's what you are.
A plague. Harsh, huh? Well.... you are.....

Dear disillusioned parent,
     Your child is good? Really? If this is your definition of good, no wonder he hurts people and destroys property. Face reality. Before reality is charges of man-slaughter.

Dear old radio evangelist,
     Sometimes I tune-in on my way to work and learn a thing or two. But King James translation? Who are you trying reach, Shakespearean actors? Furrealz.

That's all. For now...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary!

Kimberly is an incredible wife. I've experienced her love and devotion in a powerful way, as she supported me through my most recent bought of anxiety and depression. She loves with God's love, regardless. I'm blessed to have her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Something Cool and New to Me!

Somehow these things have failed to catch my notice until now, but aren't they beautiful? I'm not even sure what to call them. Some kind of pine cone, maybe? Anyway, a few kids at work have been collecting them under the trees, much like I used to collect the brightest, most colorful autumn leaves I could find as a kid in Indiana. I just had to take a few pictures of them. I only had my cell phone with me, so none of the pictures turned out quite so fantastic. But they were fun pics to edit anyway!

Monday, October 17, 2011


This kid, he's not just a little rough around the edges.
He's plain rough.

He's a bully. He's a thief. He's a liar.
He's . . . rough.

But he has a thirst for prayer.
Every night we have to pray together.

And sometimes I'm so touched by his prayer requests.

I see an incredible transformation in its very first stage.
It's rough.

And completely amazing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Church notes 101711

Matthew 18:1-14

-Christianity is always one generation away from extinction.

The disciples asked Jesus who was the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus stated it was the children, which was counter-cultural of the time.

Matthew 18:4, "Whoever humbles himself and becomes like this is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

-Children humble themselves and don't have shame of their reliance on adults.

     -This is the way we should be with God: completely dependent and unashamed.
     - Invite God into all areas of life, the way children invite others to share life with them.

- Children are most likely to become fully devoted followers of Christ.

- When you open your heart to a child you open your heart to Christ.
     - Make room in your heart for children and others and you make room in your heart for God.

- You're better off drowning yourself than leading a child or follower into sin. (Matt. 10:6)

Read the parable of the Shepard and the missing sheep (Matt. 18:12-14)
     - Notice the emphasis on 'little ones.' Reaching out to the lost means reaching out to children.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

K? Thnx!

Please don't eat bugs in front of my group-home kids & tell them its a source of protein. That may be true, but they already exhibited enough behaviors shunned by most of society.

Friday, October 14, 2011

from the mouth of babes 101311

"Feel better about the argument you had with Marshall?"
"Yeah. I talked to Jesus about it."
"Cool! That always helps me, too!"
"Yeah, I just said, 'Dear Jesus, forgive me and make bad things happen to Marshall. 
 Like he will have to fart a lot or something.'"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

from the mouth of babes: 100911

Him: Whattaya mean I can't watch PG13 movies!?!? I watch pornos, homie!

Me: Um... that's probably part of the problem. You're 11. And you live here now. And don't call me homie.

Needs and Wants

Ever run into one of those teeny tiny ankle biters that thinks he's a giant canine beast? There's a new kid in the group home I work in and he's just like one of those little dogs.

He is a constant reminder of my own self-centeredness.

One moment he's this big thug that's gonna kill me, and the next moment he's this crying little kid that misses his mommy and needs to be sung to sleep at night because he's scared of the dark.

There are these times when I need to yell at him to get him under control and keep him safe. There are times I need to point out his 'gangster vs. kiddy' personas because he needs to understand himself and his issues.

And there are times I WANT to do what I NEED to do because I'm frustrated. Because it feels good to yell at him. Granted, its what NEEDS to be done, but I sometimes find myself doing it out of WANT.

Its humbling.
I've had to pray all week for God to replenish my mercifulness.

And, of course, He provides, reminding me the difference between NEEDS and WANTS.

Even when they're the same.

taking notes

God does extraordinary things through ordinary people. I'm blessed to be surrounded by believers that surrender their lives for Christ daily, so I get to see a lot of extraordinary things done through and in them, and in turn I can feel the Spirit stirring inside myself.

Sometimes I want to share with people what God has does for me and others through them, so I make a mental note. "Hm, the way he just explained that made something in my brain click!" or "Wow, the arrangement of that song gave me chills. That was an awesome moment of worship."

The problem is, I apparently take down mental notes in disappearing ink. The excitement from whatever awesome thing remains, but I can't quite articulate what it was I found so powerful. So today I traded mental notes for a napkin and a blue highlighter. Conceptualizing my thoughts to jot them down made them easier to retrieve from my memory later. I don't know if it'll become a norm for me or not, but its a step of being intentional in how I love, support, and encourage servants. Its something I'm called to do, but I haven't put much effort into cultivating.

So here's to late starts!
Thank God its never too late ;-)

Are there any practical steps you can take in pursuit of your callings?

church notes: 100911

Matthew 17

Jesus appears in all his glory to Peter, James, and John. They saw Him as he appears in Heaven, his true form.

-Jesus was sinless because He always sought God's will. Our sin begins when we serve our own.

-Peter was overwhelmed with joy in the presence of the Lord.

-Pursuit of the Spirit of God is not an option as a Christian. His presence is our joy and His honor.
    -Develop a holy dissatisfaction with your spiritual. Desire more God in you always.
     -Develop a plan to grow towards God. Put forth effort to seek Him, thru study, meditation, etc.

2 Corinthians 3:18
Beholding the glory of God is transforming.

-Faith is not a one time event.

- Jesus pleases God as a reflection of himself. As we are transform to become more like christ, we become more pleasing to the Father.

-In His perfection and righteousness He loves us despite our imperfection and unrighteousness.
     -Our joy: His honor

What would it be like if we stepped into His presence completely, forgetting ourselves?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: Week

What do you look forward to every week?

The Branches!!!

And Sunday afternoon naps.

I'm Swell.

I really am! Really!

Life is great. It always has been. But something in my mind takes a turn for the worst from time to time. It's difficult to explain. But I'm doing good right now.

Lots of prayer. Enormous support from my wife. Lots of love from friends. A few sleeping pills and some med adjustments. The upturn in mood cycling.

Bam! Back on top.

Its mental, physical, and spiritual. Its the perfect storm.
But for now, the skies are clear.

I've made an effort to address the more physiological aspects of it all. Realizing the frailty of my body and mind is a daunting thing. Overwhelming. It made the valley of depression and anxiety seem more like a pit; hopeless. But it all sinks in eventually. And knowledge is power. Truth.

I'll hit another valley at some point. But when I do I'll be more equipped than before.
And for now I'm at a peak.

I'm swell.

snapshot: 100511 1600 PST

Watching the rain,
and people pass by.

I love it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

church notes 100211

Matthew 16

Is God a co-pilot in my life? Or is He the driver?


Matthew 16:24 "If anyone would come after Me let him deny himself..."

-Jesus often speaks of dying to ourselves. This is a false self He speaks of,  not our true selves He created us to be.

-Surrender is an internal and external process; lives change inside and out.

-live with a rebellious heart
-live with a divided heart
-live with a surrendered heart

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me..."

What part of my heart have I cornered off for myself? Am I willing to surrender it to God?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Its a great feeling.

No more chase or restrain or corral.
Just silence.

Its like God is patting me on the back.
"Good job. They're asleep now. Relax."

And all is well!

rock & refuge

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock... he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge..."

-Psalm 144:1-2

Refuge. I've been feeling it.
God is good.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

God, Your light is brighter than the dark is deep!

Today's Writing Prompt: Line

Write about a line you won't cross in your profession.

There is this sticky little line in my profession that I feel is crossed way too often.


I'm not interested in intimidating anyone, especially a child or teen. I do recognize the importance of my residents knowing exactly who is in charge, but there are a lot of different ways of going about that that are more appropriate and Christ-like.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12

I count my blessings.

I have no reason to be in tribulation. But I am.
Maybe I just don't know what tribulation is.

Or maybe this is just as close to tribulation as I've ever been before...

I'm finding it difficult to rejoice. I'm trying, but the joy just isn't flowing like I know it should be.
And patience? That's almost laughable.

And prayer.
Oh, prayer...

This one small verse in Romans contains all I need.
All the answers.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12

Its simple in word, but harder in application.
Where do I start, or restart, rather?

I guess I've already begun... I'm just being impatient.
Impatient in tribulation. Reluctant to rejoice.  Sporadic and self-centered in prayer.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thanks, Carlos!

I needed to read this today.

Today's Writing Prompt: Messy

Write about a messy area in your home, workplace, or life.

Well, nearly every area of my life is messy but two particular spots come to mind: my car and my side of the bed.

They're both a wreck.

Remembering Winchester…

I’d rather not.

Several weeks back I found myself part of a FaceBook group in remembrance of my hometown. Without even as much as pressing “Like,” on the group’s button, my inbox was immediately overflowing with unfamiliar nostalgia and names I only vaguely recollect.

My most prevalent memories of this place and time seem to differ greatly from those of my peers. I don’t recall the small-town camaraderie’s that others do. I just remember being called ‘Queer’ and ‘Faggot’ more often than by my own name.

I’ll save myself from processing any further unpleasant memories, and I’ll save you from reading them. Because I’d rather not remember.

I may still live within the social constraints of certain stereotypes held for soft-spoken men such as myself. But any pain or consequences of those are left behind.

In Winchester.
Where you will not be seeing me for a very long time.

*My parents’ farm is the exception to this. I’d be there sitting around a campfire with Mommacita and Pop in a heartbeat!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Church notes 092511

Read Matthew 15:32-39

Believe: Do we really believe? Do we really believe the miracles of the bible? Or are they just fairy tales?

-he really healed the blind
-he really fed thousands
-he really brought dead the life
-he really rose from the grave

Having issues believing? Read the bible!  But first ask God to open your heart to his truths.

Remember: we often forget what God has done for us. We fail to remember our spiritual highs.

-read the bible about what God has done
-journal! Read back into what God has done in your own life to remember the blessings

Be renewed: continually allow God to renew you through and in your belief and remembrance.

There is no stopping what the Holy Spirit can do!

Friday, September 23, 2011

from the mouth of babes: 092211

"Peanut is in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror saying, 'Bloody Mary, bloody Mary, bloody Mary!' I think its working!"


“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” Romans 5:3-4 ESV

Suffering. It's a fascinating thing to me. We all suffer in one way or another. Most of us are suffering right now. But to what degree?

What does your suffering look like?

For some of us its starvation. Others, addiction. Illness. Abuse. Loneliness.
Maybe its financial stress, marital issues, mental health.

We often we hide our suffering. Maybe its pride. Or maybe we're just grateful for the ways we aren't suffering. I think its for a lot of different reasons.

The bible shares a lot with us about the purpose of suffering. The cool thing I've found about it? It connects us all. We've all suffered. It connects us to the One who suffered for us.

So the next time someone asks you how you've been, be honest. Down to the nitty gritty truth, if appropriate. I'm guessing you'll bless that person, and you'll both have renewed hope.

God tends to do cool stuff like that.
Just sayin'...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snapshot: 092111 1400 PST

Today I visited Guajome Park with the Canady kiddos. What a blessing! They both have this innocent joy about them that always seems to bring out a sense of peace and calm within myself.

Plus, its a lot of fun pretending to be a pirate!

Today's Writing Prompt: Put up with

What do you have to put up with in your life?

Working in residential treatment for developmentally delayed and emotionally disturbed youth, I have to put up with a lot of foulness. Foul-mouthed, foul-smelling, foully behaved children.

I love 'em, but dang, they're foul!

Monday, September 19, 2011

let that be me

a dying hill
unseen hope
a kiss of flame
new life grows

a jagged rock
now fine sand
lifetimes in
the ocean's hand

let that be me
let that be me


Today a kid got stuck in the bathroom at work. The lock just sorta jammed and he couldn't get out. So he started panicking. A lot. I tried picking the lock. I tried to jimmy the door opened. But when all else failed... HIYA! I warned the kid to get back, then I kicked the door opened. I felt cool. All the kids cheered and commented on my strength.
Then I felt really cool.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


James shared a message today at the Branches from the Book of Matthew. One thing I love about James' teaching (there are several things, btw) is how much 'behind the scenes' info he gives. He offers each story with all this background stuff that really enriches its meaning.

Today he shared about an interaction John the Baptist's disciples had with Jesus. John had sent them to ask Jesus if he was really 'the one.'

What's interesting is that John really already knew the answer. But in the oppression of imprisonment he needed reassurance.

Jesus responded, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." (Matthew 11:4-6 ESV)

John needed reassurance.  He sought reassurance. And he found it.

I think that, from time to time, we all need reassurance. But if you're anything like myself, you might fail to search for it. For me, its because I feel guilty that I would even need reassurance in the first place.

So this little story of reassurance...
was reassuring.

God wants me to find reassurance , and you too.
So let's go after it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zzz's Please

I've already taken two sleeping pills almost four hours ago, along with two Ativan.

And yet here I am. It's 2:43am.
I'm chomping on berry flavored Tums like candy while watching the original Dracula on NetFlix.
These are not butterflies I'm feeling. More like a swarm of something angry.

I saw a licensed therapist today for an intake and some diagnostic testing.
Insomnia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Shocking (sarcasm).

I've been referred to an MD who apparently specializes in sleep mojo and chill pills. Sadly, the MD can't see me for over another month.

So what am I gonna do in the meantime? Beats me.

All I know is that I'm tired, overwhelmed, and anxious. If I could just sleep, I'm sure I'd begin to feel better.

Oh well, at least I can say the first step has been taken. Or something.

So if you're just sitting around all bored and thinking, "Hm... whatever will I do?" perhaps you could throw up a prayer or two for me. That'd be super.


Vegas Pics!

Madam Tassauds' Wax Museum, The Venetian, PawnStars!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Woot! Woot!

Season six of Supernatural arrived in the mail today.

I can't wait!


I'm going to be completely honest here. Last night, I wasn't my best.

I got a little too into Vegas. Or maybe Vegas got a little too into me.
I didn't wake up with a hangover, but dang, I was expecting myself to...

I'm not bragging. I was not my best.

But God was. And He always is. Even when I'm not. Especially when I'm not.

He is always working. He is always glorious.
I've seen this before, and I saw it last night.

A couple drinks too many into the night, I felt my phone vibrate. It was an e-mail.
Someone had come across some scripture on my blog and God spoke to them through it.
They just wanted me to know.

"Okay, God," I thought, "I got it. The room is spinning and You're still in charge."
"I'm Yours and You're going to use me one way or another."

So, yeah. That's my story. I'd like to not admit I wasn't my best last night.
But I won't sacrifice sharing God's glory for my own reputation.

He is always His best.

Monday, September 12, 2011

snapshot: 091211 1400 PST

Lounging up top the Stratosphere!
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how to drift from God

1.) Neglect your time with God. 
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1
2.) If you don’t like your circumstances, blame God!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
3.) Hang around bad influences. 
“Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
4.) Give in to temptation.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15
5.) Love this world more than you love God.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
* I love when Pastor Kris is facetious ;o)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Break Me

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.
The righteous have many problems, but the LORD delivers them from every one.

-Psalm 34:18-19

more adventures with Al & Shan


Saturday, September 10, 2011


I feel like I might be getting my mind back! (knock on wood) Last night I slept the best I have in weeks and today I felt all happy 'n stuff ;o)

Of course, why wouldn't I feel happy? I mean, sure, I always have plenty to be happy about, but today seemed extra special!

It started out with some In-n-Out, then a quick little song practice with Nate (peppered with some playtime with the Canady kiddos ;o)

Kimberly, Allen, Shannon and I then hit the pool! After some much enjoyed lounging, we checked out Cruise 'n Grand (which included a Ghost Busters' replica!) then we ate Fillipi's! Mm mm!!!

After a nice chai latte at Esco Joe's, we caught an evening train to the Oceanside Pier!

A day of favorites!!! So nice!!!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

snapshot: 090711 1600 PST

I got lost and ended up here. Darn ;-)
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

choices and trust

Life is a series of choices. Some choices should be made carefully, while others require little to no deliberation. And every now and then I come to a choice I can't quite decide how to make.

"Is this just something I dive into, following my gut?"
"Should I put more thought into this?"
"Am I putting too much thought into this?"

Decision making often comes down to faith. What do I believe will happen according to what I choose? For example, I have to trust I can cross the road safely before my feet hit the street.

But when it comes to these particular decisions I'm referring to, the choices I'm unsure how much thought to put into, where does my faith fall? What belief do I hold dearest that will determine the choices I make? Where do I place my trust?

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart;  do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."

Today's Writing Prompt: Fire

Write about a memory involving fire.

I have a lot of great memories involving fire. Campfires were a regular thing growing up. We'd sit around the fire under the stars and listen to all the nighttime noises, smelling the smoke. Its just a very peaceful feeling.

Monday, September 5, 2011

randomness 090511

- Jose Cuervo + Tylenol PM = desperate attempt to sleep

- Today a co-worker busted my chops on a lapse of judgment I made. It was refreshing.

- I'm officially off work for a week! Sure, I have a mandatory meeting on Wednesday, but I'm not counting that...

- Excited for our guests to arrive!!! Allen and Shannon will be here Thursday. I can't wait!

- God is in control.

- Banana Slurpee?

- Beginning to see some faces at the Branches consistently. Non-family member, non-church launch team member faces. I like it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dear Apple Store Guy,

You don't know me, but today you did a huge favor for me.

I've kinda had a bad week. My life is good and I shouldn't complain, but I still do. My wife is incredible. My friends are awesome. My family is great. All my needs are met daily.

I've just had a crummy week; the kind of week where you can't sleep at night and you make dumb mistakes and you just feel crappy about almost everything.

Well, today was no exception. At about 10:11am, just about 34 minutes before service began, I realized that really important white plug-in thingy that connects my Mac to the projector was missing.

What service? Oh, yeah, I forgot you don't know me. Well, I'm a part of this awesome church plant thing and I run music and service slides and announcements all from my Mac. The Mac I lost the cord for.

I almost cried.
I know, I'm lame.
But I really almost did.

I hate letting people down. Especially when I'm already feeling like pooh. So when you kindly sold me that white plug-in thingy a half hour before you were technically even opened.... sigh. It was a relief. A huge relief. Like a, "Oh, yeah! God is in control!" kind of relief. And so began a day of continuous reminders that everything will be okay. That everything IS okay.

So yeah. Thanks!
-Happy customer
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: Fix-it

Write about a time you fixed something. 

One time, the bathroom of the office I was working in had a urinal in it that never stopped running. It was really showing on our water bill, and I could hear the water always running as I sat at my desk, which drove me crazy. So one day I decide I was going to give fixing it my best shot, and to my amazement I fixed it! All it took was a wrench and a few minutes on Google! I'd never fixed anything before, so I was really excited about it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

snapshot: 082911 1400 PST

Making my first attempt at body boarding with Kimmy and the Canady's in Carlsbad.
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