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!