Monday, January 31, 2011

He just turned 11 . . .

. . . and the devil talks to him.
Tells him he's gonna kill him.
And put his mother's head on a pike.

Yesterday, the devil talked to him a lot.
Told him nasty things. Scary things.

He asked me to check behind the shower curtain before he could use the restroom, then under his bed and in his closet before he could go into his bedroom. He woke up at 10:30pm and couldn't fall back to sleep, afraid he would have horrible nightmares.

I turned his light on, then prayed out loud with him. I sat just outside his doorway and tried to make him feel safe until he finally fell back to sleep.

And as I did so, I wondered, where is the line drawn between normal childhood fears and this little boy's mental health issues? Could it be that something evil really is talking to him? Will the voices ever stop?

But most importantly, what can I do for him right now? What need does he have in all of this that I can help him meet?

What boogie man used to keep you up at night? What happened to make it go away?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snapshot: 013011 1500 PST

-Visited Generations Church in Oceanside to get a crash course in Media Shout.
-Found a random bridge I just had to explore and photograph. Parked the car and got my shoes muddy ;o)
-Partook in some delicious hot chai at the Pier View Coffee Shop while working on slides for the next Branches sermon.
-Stopped by Oceanside Harbor. Ventured to the end of a rock jetty and basked in the beauty.
-Chatted with my mom on the phone while walking along the beach. She misses me a lot. I miss her a lot, too.
-Safely made it to my car just before the clouds tore open and the rain started pelting down. Gotta love fortunate timing :o)
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Friday, January 28, 2011


One thing I appreciate about working with younger children is that when they go psycho and hit me, it doesn't really hurt. You know, 'cuz they're small.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


"I want to write a song and be like you. Can you help me?"
"Sure! Cool! What do you want your song to be about?"
"Me. And the Lord."
"Wow! Awesome. What about you and the Lord?"
"About how He has shown me how to do good things since, like, you've been working here and telling me about Him and stuff."

We grabbed a pen, notebook, and the guitar. Then he wrote his first song, with a little help.
I was so proud of him!

Changing for the good
Changing everyday
Keep on changing me, Lord
That is what I pray
And I praise you, Lord
You show me how to do good things
I praise You, Lord
For helping me to change
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ever, ever.

My life is good.
I am blessed.

Over the past week or so, I've been contemplating something; this is the happiest I've ever been.

Ever, ever.

Nearly everything I could think of that makes life good, I have. But even beyond that, in my heart, down in my very core, I am joyful.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lamentation 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.

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Ezekiel 37:13-14

And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.

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not for the weak of stomach...

Flipping through my Droid apps.
Flipping. Flipping. Flipping.
Trying to find Grims Fairy-tale of the Day.

That's when I saw it, just out of the corner of my eye. Little jimmy, all nestled in bed, waiting for his bedtime story, picking his nose and eating his snot.

"Jimmy! Did you just eat your booger!?" I exclaim.
"Uh huh," Jimmy nods and grins.
"Jimmy! You are 12 years old! Aren't you even a little embarrassed you just got caught eating your booger!?" I ask.
"Nope," he says as he promptly plucks another booger from his nose and pops it in his mouth, sticking his tongue out at me, booger resting proudly on the tip.


And the really sick part?
I love my job ;o)
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: '11

In eleven words, describe what you hope 2011 will be for you.

A creative explosion. Growth, love, peace. A testimony of God's awesomeness!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011


I've been frustrated with people this week.
The selfishness. The rudeness. The... humanness.

Sure, I know I'm being a total hypocrite. I'm just as low-down as the next person. But DANG!

I work in this place where people are supposed to make a difference in the lives of kids who need it the most, but they're so incredibly absorbed by themselves that they have so little to offer the kids they're here to serve.

They pick at one another. They talk badly about each other TO THE KIDS. And its just discusting.

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Snapshot: 012111 1900 PST

Watching Shrek 4 with the group-home kiddos, while the cupcakes cool.

Days like this make my job amazing.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Take: 2

This is my second take on trying to work through and develop an easy (or, I should rather say, a relatively uncomplicated) process to generate old comic book inspired art. This time I completely bypassed the photo-to-sketch app on my phone and only used tools available on my photo editor.  I mean, what else would I be doing at midnight?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Say cheese!

I am really excited to begin prepping for an upcoming creative project. I'm still in the experimental stages, and this picture is a first-time attempt to achieve a certain look and feel I have in mind. So far, I'm very pleased! As of now, the process all begins with a quick pic shot from my phone with a free photo-to-sketch app, then tweaked on my Mac using my good 'ol usual photo editing program, GIMP, which is also a free download! So, you can probably look forward to more vintage comic inspired images on this blog over the next couple months while I continue to play around with the process. Also, those who get the (dis)pleasure of seeing me in person often can probably look forward to having their picture taken with my phone, which I'm sure will be a nice break from having your picture constantly taken by my camera ;o)

Say cheese!

Snapshot: 011811 1400 PST

Practicing a few worship songs on the guitar in Grape Day Park. Its such a beautiful day!
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Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
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Don't be fooled by my rugged handsomeness.

I am just a large, hairy child.

Life is full of all sorts of details, little things like . . . oh, say, insurance, bills, etc. These are overwhelming matters for me. So I repress them, pretend like they aren't there. Even forgetting about them.

Leaving my poor wife to drowned in them.

So, this is my confession. I am irresponsible. And pretty darn selfish. And, in some ways, a real crappy husband.

Sorry, Love. You mean the world to me.
I don't know why I suck. I just do. And that's lame, I know.

So, yeah. This is me. Trying to . . . grow up.

I'm Just Curious

"...being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart..." - Ephesians 4:18

I'm just curious...

Why is it, in a culture increasingly obsessed with the environment and protecting all species, that so many of these same folks are for destroying the lives of unborn children?

I'm just curious...

Why is it that values-free sex education, which is about teaching safe sex to save lives, is advising young people on an unsafe approach that could kill them? Entrusting your life to a thin rubber shield, when the failure rate is so high, is bewildering indeed.

I'm just curious...

Why is it, in a culture where the supreme virtue is often tolerance, that so many are so intolerant of the name of Jesus Christ or Biblical convictions?

Don't things like this make you just a little bit curious, too?

*re-posted from HERE 

Monday, January 17, 2011

O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above

what about me!?

There I am, playing Shoots and Ladders with little Johny No Name, when out of no where, Billy What's-His-Face feels inspired to reenact his favorite scene from some over-the-top 'child becomes possessed by demon' horror flick.

Head spinning. Profuse swearing. Laying down on a busy street just before barreling traffic.
You know; the norm.

So here I go out into the street dodging cars, dragging Billy What's-His-Face to safety all the while he's biting the hell out of me. Ouch.

Crisis. Counseling. Restraining. More Crisis. More counseling. More restraining.
(Liberally interject the ignoring of being; sworn at, spit on, bitten, kicked, hit, scratched, etc.)

The world is spinning, spinning, spinning. Then suddenly everything stops at the tug on my sleeve; looking behind me, there I see little Johny No Name, Shoots and Ladders game piece in hand. "Aren't you gonna play?" he asks.

Essentially asking, "What about me!?"

Sigh. In that split second I find myself overwhelmed with frustration at Johny No Name and his complete selfishness . . . and then with humbleness as God gently reminds me of my own self-centered nature.

After all, I'M the one thinking, "Why are you interrupting ME!? Can't you see I'M busy!?"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snapshot: 011511 1700 PST

Here, with the group-home kids!
And I totally dominated in laser tag!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: Intro

Fill in the blanks (and explain, if you'd like):
"My name is _____, and I'm a(n) _____-holic."

My name is Nathan, and I'm a banana Slurpee-holic."

together in (dis)harmony

I was strumming and picking away at the guitar, belting out as we hit the chorus, "Savior, come as You are, the light of the world, Emmanuel!" Little Juan was right beside me, singing along. This is, after all, his favorite song. Singing and playing this together has become an important part of our rapport with one another. Its just what we do.

It all started out with me playing it for him at night as he went to sleep. After a couple weeks, he began to hum along a little. Then, one night, he just belted out the whole song with me, word for word. I remember how much it choked me up. As a songwriter, I could hope only to create something that connects with a person deeply, so when I heard this practically orphaned child singing my lyrics, "You call, 'Come as you are, burdened and broke down.' I'm not alone now. Savior, You mend my heart!" I could hardly hold the tears back enough to keep singing. 

So, the song has meaning to the kid. And the act of singing it with me is important to him. 
I guess he feels . . . connected when we do.

Where was I?
Ah, yes. Strumming. Picking. Belting. Chorus.

Needless to say, Juan and I were 'in the moment,' totally focused on our song, when another kid, John, walks in and nonchalantly says to Juan, "You can't sing for shit!" Then, to add insult to injury, John begins to sing with me in perfect harmony. Sadly enough, John was not wrong. Juan sings with exuberance, but that's about it. He certainly gets an 'A' for effort, but the kid is tone deaf. Completely shattered by John's comment, Juan teared up and excused himself, trying hard to hide his hurt feelings. Poor Juan just isn't good at many things, but he does have a streak of resilience in him; a will to do things despite knowing he doesn't do them well. That's a trait most of us don't have. Its easy to do what we do well, but most often we just give up on things that challenge us.

By the end of the day, Juan and I were back to belting out the chorus, together in (dis)harmony, and I was inspired by him to contemplate the idea of doing, not for the perceived wellness of something, but completely for the shear love of it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Could it truly be Wednesday? I mean, really!? Wednesdays are usually my most dreaded of all days. Wednesdays are not only my working Mondays, but the most challenging day of my working week. The employee position that is suppose to accompany mine is vacant, so each Wednesday I work with a fill-in. Also, the staff at the first half of the week don't offer the same structure we do on the second half of the week, so when we come in we meet some reluctance from our group home kids who've enjoyed their past couple days of no responsibilities and few rules. But today, oh yes, today was ON POINT! I worked today with a great fill-in staff who gave a 110%! It was an awesome day, and I'm relieved to know I'll be working with her for the next several Wednesdays!
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Today I sat down at Starbucks with James and Kris and left three hours later with a long list of to-do's and three notebook pages of great ideas. I'm so excited to get started on these new projects!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snapshot : 01011 2100 PST

45*F and hitting the hot tub!
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Snapshot: 011011 1600 PST

Enjoying the Wild Animal Park with my lovely wife!
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night owl brainstorming

Sleeping doesn't seem to be an option tonight. I left the Branches' first preview service with a few ideas on how to tighten things up on my end for next month's preview, and the ideas just keep building.

Its an exhilarating thing, to scheme and plan and hypothesize and project. What can I make better? What needs eliminated? What needs more attention? What new piece is there to bring to the table?

Some of the things streaming through my brain are just plain practical, organizational sort of stuff, while other thoughts run rampant of new creative elements and projects to conceptualize and begin implementing.

What a wonderful feeling!
Like . . . the future . . . or something . . .

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Branches First Preview Service

This morning at about 8:30am, a group of people gathered together to transform a high school into The Branches church sanctuary, nursery, and children's bible school. It was incredible to watch these spaces be morphed so completely, but even more incredible to watch these individuals come together as one unit to perform this task. With nearly ninety people in attendance, the service was beautiful; powerful worship and a meaningful message that was, of course, well delivered by Kris Sorensen, teaching pastor.

God's presence and abundant blessing over this church-plant were undeniable this morning for our first preview service! I hope to see you at our second preview service, February 6 at 10:45am, at San Pasqual High School in Escondido!!!

Snapshot: 010911 1200 PST

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snapshot: 010811 1700 PST

Watching Yogi with one of my kids from work!
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I am so excited for our first preview service tomorrow! Its hard to believe that its really happening. I'm anxious to see what God has in store for the Branches and the surrounding communities.

I remember a particular conversation I was having during my first visit to California almost a year ago. I longed for fluidity in my life. I felt that all my passions and interests were compartmentalized, and I knew that God's desire for my life was to be one continuous act of service for Him.

Now I'm able to see God's hand cinching everything together. All my interests, passions, gifts, and hobbies seem to be flowing in the same direction; towards Him.

One area I've been very blessed to serve in is through collaborating on and creating images for the sermon series, website, hand-outs, playbill ad, etc. I'm so happy that my heart for service and love for design now flow together!


Yesterday I was debating whether or not to go into work, or to call-off for a third day in a row. I was feeling significantly better, but I never really know what my job will demand of me from day to day. After an extra dose of meds, I decided to put on my' big-boy-pants' and go to work. Thankfully, it ended up being a very laid-back day with no behavioral issues!

I also met our newest resident yesterday. He has survived some pretty horrific trauma, and although some other people are a little intimidated by his lengthy list of mental health issues, I am so excited to have him in our group-home! God has created me to be passionate about working with people like this boy, who have been hurt so badly, and I look forward to how God might stretch me to best serve him!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

sick days

Kimberly and I have been sick.

Its a virus. You know, the kind that just has to "run its course."

I hate that, by the way! "Run its course." Gr!

So, while the virus runs, I don't do much of anything.
I've found it nearly impossible to stay awake much longer than just a couple of hours at a time.

I haven't really left home since Tuesday, and I missed work yesterday and today.

Sure, feeling like crap stinks, but I have to admit, all the extra rest has been nice.

I just pray I am well by Sunday!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today's Writing Prompt: Jet

You have a private, supersonic jet that you can take anywhere for a quick dinner out. Where will you go? 
Hm . . . Pizza King! The one in Winchester, IN. Thats the best!!! Or Perhaps the one off of McGalliard in Muncie.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010, This is Home

2010, what a year! God moved me.
Literally. 2,166 miles.

But more so, God moved my heart.
So after some goodbyes, I left the only home I've ever known, to find myself in a place altogether new.

Only God knows what tomorrow will bring, but for today I'm right where I belong. This is home.

Check out my 2010 wrap-up video!

2010 from Nathan Harris on Vimeo.