Thursday, March 29, 2012

Snapshot: 032912 1300 PST

Sipping on a delicious tuxedo and snacking on some coffee cake at Star Bucks while my tire is being repaired at Evan's.

And the repair is free!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


"Will you tell him about the seasons?" she asks. She sits on a bench, a dear friend, and before her stands a great tree. Under the tree, my wife lay in the grass, holding a baby. It is not ours. It must belong to the woman on the bench. I step under the canopy of the tree. I look up and notice the branches are divided into three sections. The first is bare, as though in the dead of winter. The middle of the tree is budding. The furthest branches are adorned with deep green leafs, and it is under these branches my wife lay with the baby. Instead of approaching her directly, I make my around the trunk of the tree first, looking up into the canopy. "These are the seasons," I thought, as I noted the bare, budded, and fully leafed divisions of the tree. Behind the tree I notice a light. It's upwards a bit, just above head level. It appears to be emitting from where a branch begins at the trunk. The light is beautiful, swarming, like hundreds of thousands of tiny lights coming together. The light remains as a conglomerate, no larger than my fist. I pull a camera from my pocket and try to take a picture of the light, but the camera won't take the picture. I look through the camera screen and see that the light is dull and not nearly as beautiful as seeing it with my own eyes. Another dear friend steps behind me, the husband of the woman sitting on the bench. We begin to speak....

It all goes dark. Everything around me fades.
The tree. The branches. The woman on the bench. The man standing with me.
The light. My wife laying in the grass. The baby in her arms.

All fading. I am waking. It's gone.
A dream.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

smack-down of truth/love

There are certain kinds of conversations I'm good with. Then there are others that.... well, lets just say it's a good thing I have guys like this as role models to learn from. I'm not there yet, but God's still working on me.

Snapshot: 032712 1700 PST

I was primed and prepped.
Actually pumped for school.

I had my notebook.
I had my laptop.

I had my research paper I've spent way too many hours writing.
My research paper that is due tonight.

I stepped out the door and saw it immediately.
My flat tire. My super flat tire.

Primed. Prepped. Pumped. Paper.

Oh, well. Thank God for great Triple A service.
And for professors who accept assignments via email.

Its been a while...

Oh, sweet blog! Its been a while! Alas, life is busy. Let me throw some things out there real quick! Then its zzz's for me!

- Mom left Sunday morning. It was great having her around. Miss her already!
- Work is... crazy? I was just about ready to mentally check-out a little, then BAM! I received some great encouragement. Everyday is a challenge! Can't complain about it being boring.
- I just finished my first research paper for grad school. It was just a baby paper. Five pages. But its the first one I've written in a LONG time. Took me a while to get it done, but I'm feeling good about it!
- On Sunday I got to hear that cute baby Jude say 'duck' and 'roar.' Yeah. It was epic.
- I have one day off a week with my wife. It happens to be the same day as men's Bible study, so I don't go. However, my wife spent her day off this week getting some much deserved R&R with her chicas,  so I made it to the Irish pub to hang out with some good men and read about the Spirit coming down on the gentiles. And I had a martini. Good times.
- Draw Something? Its amazing! Words With Friends? So old school! Ah, the time-wasting-joys of apps.
- Guess who has a fully operating car trunk now... This guy! Oh, yeah! After months of no trunk, I feel whole again! And, I even fixed it myself!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unexpected Buzz-Kill

Yesterday was supposed to be a great day, and mostly, it was. I spent all afternoon looking forward to an evening with the Pinkerton's. On the ride to their house, I received an unexpected phone call. An unpleasant call; the kind you just can't shake. It was a call from my boss. It was about work, and well... you can read my previous post if you wanna know more about that 'lil situation.

So yeah, the evening was good, but it wasn't what I hoped. The call just put a damper on it.

And tonight? Well, today was wonderful. Flower fields. Great evening in class. Wonderful meal out. BAM! Lost my wallet. I have a couple ideas of where it could be, and neither option is good. I seriously had such a great day, and I was so sleepy I just couldn't wait to crawl into bed and get the sleep I've been lacking lately. But the stress of losing my wallet, calling every place I may have lost it, tearing through our cars, flipping the house upside down.... has me wired.

Two days of unexpected buzz-kills. Boo!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

he's back

He's back. Again. I've written about him before. I've referred to him as Peanut. Other times, I've just rambled on about a nameless kid weighing on my heart. My kid. That kid.

He's been in the hospital. Then he got out. Then he went in again. Then he got out again.

And then he left. He went home to his mother. And then, oh yes, there's another 'and then'...
And then he went back to the hospital. And now he's out. Now he's back.

He's not returning to his mother. The fact that he beat her up within the first twenty-four hours she had him in her own care proves it's just not the best option.

His illness is heartbreaking. He will never be well again. And here I am, worried about me. You see, like I said, he is my kid. He responds to me. He loves me. And I love him.

I have taken responsibility to managing the mental and emotional space he is in, even though I understand this is not my job. Unfortunately, I've developed such a sensitivity to his moods that I exhaust myself in attempt to counterbalance him. I also realize the egocentric-ism in that, and I see that its not only unhealthy for me, but for him as well.

Please pray. Pray for this kid's heart and mind. Pray he has peace. Pray he doesn't hurt himself or anyone else. Pray for his mother. And pray for me. Pray that I let go. Pray that I hold on. Pray that I do whatever it is that God wants me to.

Pray I do it well. Pray I am well while I do it. Thanks.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snapshot: 031912 1900 PST

Chalk art with the Pinkerton kiddos.

And soup.
Mm... soup!

And The Voice with James and Tonya.

I love those Pinkertons.
Good peeps.

Lights! Color! Action!

I have a new toy! Kimberly got me a slightly used Nikon D50 for my upcoming birthday, and I'm having a lot of fun playing with it. I'm just in the very very very very beginning stages of learning how to use it. So far, I love how the Nikon captures light and colors, making it perfect for candid action shots! Yesterday after church, the Branches family went to eat at On the Border. Sitting out on the patio, the bright colored walls and natural lighting made it a playground for a novice photographer! So much fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today was one of those days that just blaze right by at work.

Nothing particularly great happened.
Nothing particularly bad happened, either.

The day just flew by.
I can't complain :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Snapshot: 031412 1500 PST

Beating up the bad guys down at the playground.
Then watching some 'toons with Mr. Jude and Isaiah.

Er... I mean... with Baby Captain America and Batman.

Kids are therapy.
These kids, anyway.

calluses and catching on quickly

Today Nate came over and gave me a little 101 on the electric bass. We worked on a couple songs, and slowly, ever so slowly, I'm learning.

I'm enjoying the learning process, and I like practicing.

The nice thing about the electric bass is that you can practice while pretty much doing anything as long as you're not plugged into an amp.

The problem is... my finger tips can only take so much practicing. I tried to pick it up for a little more play time tonight and my poor index finger just couldn't take it!

Hoping to callus quickly! And catching on quickly would be nice, too :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today I visited Carlsbad with my mom. It was absolutely beautiful! The water was so blue, and there were tons of pelicans flying overhead.

I've recently aspired to be the world's greatest pelican photographer! I love taking pictures of them. They're so prehistoric looking, and they move in such a unique way. I didn't realize until today that they fly in formation, much like ducks!

I'm sure I'll be posting lots of pelican pictures in the future as I edit the ones I've already taken and as I shoot new ones!

I'm also interested in learning more about them.
I guess I've acquired a new oddity!

Snapshot: 031312 1400 PST

* Carlsbad, CA. I could have stayed all day...

thy (insert here) neighbor

I would also like to add:

Thy Republican Neighbor.
Thy Democrat Neighbor.
Thy Illegal Immigrant Neighbor.
Thy Legal Immigrant Neighbor.
Thy Non-English Speaking Neighbor.
Thy Tattooed, Pierced, and Gauged-out Neighbor.
Thy Neighbor on birth-control.
Thy Neighbor that Loves our Government/President.
Thy Neighbor that Hates our Government/President.
Thy Neighbor that chooses not to say the Pledge of Allegiance or place their hand over their heart for the Star Spangled Banner and Thy Neighbor that does.
Thy Neighbor that does not love back.
Thy Neighbor that tosses cigarette butts onto other peoples patios and doesn't pick up their dog's poop.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snapshot: 031312 2030 PST

Sitting in my car.
I like sitting in my car.

It's peaceful.
I just got out of class.

The street lamp nearest to my car just went out. It gets pretty dark without street lamps!

MOG 031312

Maybe mood logging isn't such a great idea. I remember, I can look back to not too long ago, and see a long chain of positive posts. That felt great. It felt great notating on a regular basis how great I was feeling. Great!

But when I'm not doing great, when I'm not feeling great, mood logging doesn't seem quite so... great. It seems lame. Negative. And whiny.


The mind melting anxiety has mostly subsided, but I've been getting these sudden pangs of worthlessness. I feel... like fading away. No purpose or function or contribution other than patting other people's back in regards to their own purpose or function or contribution.

Knowing I shouldn't feel this way makes it so much worse.
Knowing I should want to be less, knowing this is completely unchristian...

I don't want to live a life based on smiling and helping people and being kind.
But I should want to. 

I hate feeling like this. Where did my contentment go?

blah blah blah blah blah

030512 - 031212

* Momma, La Jolla, whale watching, Branches, etc.!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I will give.

I will not wait for when the time is right.
I will not wait to build myself up first.
I will not wait to be encouraged.
I will not wait to see a sign first.
I will not wait for perfection.

I will not wait.
I just can't.

I will give.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Intensity vs Intimacy


The words themselves  sound similar.
And sometimes, in real life execution, they look similar, too.

They're intertwined.
Two, individual cords.
Tangled and knotted together.

When is one needed more than the other?
Or does such a time even exist?

So interrelated.
Yet standing on their own.

Or are they?

Uh.... hey.....

I feel like I should apologize.
Like I should just feel sick over it.

That I'm lame, that is.
No where near as great as you.

I'm not even trying to be a smart ass here.
My lack of awesomeness has got to seriously hold you back.

Its some sort of charity that you'd even speak to me.
Yet you do. Often.

Not sure why you do that.
But thanks.



Today's Writing Prompt: Baby steps

Write about an area in your life in which you've taken "baby steps."

Hmm... I'm a pretty cautious guy.

I take baby steps in most areas of life. I'm always waiting for failure. Sometimes, I just plop down on the ground before I even have the chance to fall.

Baby steps. Maybe even back stepping? I don't even touch my guitar anymore. I can't remember the last time I shared something new I've written with an audience. And paint and draw? Photography? And everything else I love to do? I'm just the type of guy that craves affirmation and verbal support. If I'm feeling the slightest bit shaky in something I'm doing, I drop it. I drop it before I trip over it.

Baby steps become no steps becomes falling becomes sitting.
Sitting. Sitting. Sitting.

Until I build my courage back up to take a few more baby steps.

Snapshot: 031112 0145 PST

Watching LA Ink on NetFlix with my momma.

Good times.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today's Writing Prompt: Share

Where do you draw the line between what you will and won't share online?

I go back and forth on this question. What is too much?
I don't quite share everything on this blog, but it's purdy darn close...

I usually don't write about anything I wouldn't want to talk about with someone in person.
But that's not always the case.

So, I guess my answer is, "eh, I don't know."

a few things

- I'm writing a song called Dancing Dinosaurs. Not sure if I'll ever finish it. It's not as chipper as one might think, but there's some creative elements to it that make it enjoyable writing.

- I have amazing, God-loving friends. They love me with God's love. That's the best kind of friend there is. And the best kind of love.

- I'm toying around with the idea of moving to a nightwatch position at work. Although it will decrease my direct care hours with the youth I serve, it's ideal for a working student taking a full load. IDK... we'll see.

- I've been practicing bass guitar. It's kinda hard to judge how I'm doing, since I don't have an amp. lol! But it's fun and relaxing, and maybe one day I'll muster up enough skill to join the worship team for a set or two.

- I came to work fully prepared today. After a great three days off, I felt refreshed and ready to give my all! There aren't too many 'good' days (in the traditional sense of the word) in my field, so the attitude you have makes or breaks the day. Today, my attitude was positive :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

my first official photo shoot

Today I met with a new young family to take their pregnancy pictures. It was the first time I'd ever done something like this, and I was nervous, but it ended up being a lot of fun.

They were a great couple to work with, and we got a few good shots! The weather was absolutely perfect, so almost all the pictures ended up being taken outside.

I've only finished editing a couple photos but I think I'm going to be pleased with the results.

This one here is my favorite so far.

Can't wait to show the soon-to-be mom and dad their pictures when they're all done!

good start!

Tonight I had my first class at Argosy.
The beginning of a looooong process.

I was a little nervous to begin with, but I quickly slipped right back into the student role.

I found the material fascinating and enjoyed participating in discussions.

Overall, it was a good experience.
A great way to begin grad school!

MOG 030612

A little better each day, since about Sunday morning.
God is good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Tomorrow is my first official on-campus class; the beginning of it all. I can't find the right book anywhere, and I'm a little confused about the online portions of the class. I'm nervous and a little overwhelmed at the commitment of a grad program. But I'm also very excited and feeling optimistic about it all!

Wednesday, I'm meeting with a woman Kimberly works with at Studio 158 to take maternity pictures. The mother-to-be is literally just days before her due date. I've been working on creative ideas, trying to avoid the uber-cheese-factor of most pregnancy pictures I've seen. I have some things in mind, and I'm excited to see how it all turns out! Its a free service I'm providing, since its the first time I've done something quite like this, so there's not too much pressure. Just fun. Mostly. I mean, what's there to lose?

Two new things this week!
I'm excited!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Snapshot: 030512 1535 PST

Oceanside with Momma!

Today's Writing Prompt: Tool

What is the most useful tool you own?

My Droid!

I use it to read my bible, to tune my guitar, and as my GPS. I blog from my phone, take pictures, check and respond to emails, and FaceBook. I play games on it, text, and use it to occupy kids at work.

Oh, yeah! Occasionally I use it to make phone calls, too!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

MOG 030412

I didn't sleep last night. Drifted off around 4am. Restless.
Woke up about every twenty minutes.
Gave up about 6:30am. It just wasn't worth it.

Surprisingly, I'm feeling decent today.
Of course, I haven't made it into work yet.

That could make or break me, lol.

Church was good. Uplifting.

I think it's safe to say I'm feeling better today.

Snapshot: 040312 1045 PST

"HE, who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world!"
- 1John 4:1b

Preach it, Pink!!!

My poor wife,

She's so sick. Her tonsils look like the aftermath of a massacre. Prayers are appreciated :-)

15 random facts about me

- I have traded my addiction to banana Slurpee's for shaved ice. OMG! So good! With vanilla ice cream in the middle? And condensed milk drizzled on top? Wow.

- I think my favorite pass time is officially hiking.

- My favorite color is green. Bright green. Like new spring grass.

- Sometimes improv singing is uber therapeutic. The louder and more obnoxious, the better! La la la!

- I love babies. Chubby babies. With cheeks. And those fat rolls where wrists are supposed to be.

- One of my favorite things I own is my walking stick. My dad made it for me and it came from my parents farm. The top of it is the base of the root it grew from, so wherever I go, I take my roots with me :-)

- I'm a momma's boy. And my momma is coming to visit tomorrow. This makes me happy.

- I've never broken a bone in my life. Knock on wood...

- I wanna be a superhero when I grow up! I love superhero video games, movies, comics, etc. Especially Marvel characters. Stan Lee is incredible! Professor X might be my inspiration in life, mind powers and such.

- I love God. God is good. I try serving Him the best I can, but I mess up. A lot. I think I'm suppose to document the ups and downs of it all. Henceforth this blog. When I begin to resemble someone who actually has a clue, I want to make sure I don't forget what it was like... not having a clue. And I hope people relate, feel encouraged, inspired. Or something.

- Sweet pickles over dill, hands down. I know, I know. Few agree.

- Chickens scare me. I had an incident with a rogue rooster as a child. It scarred me. PTSD. Furrealz.

- I'm totally and completely dependent on GPS. I used to think I had a sense of direction. And then I moved to SoCal and realized that if I were a pirate, I'd get lost at sea and die slowly and painfully.

- I like to shower under super hot water. I want it to hurt. Just a little.

- I miss stars. There aren't many starry nights here in SoCal. I used to spend a lot of time out by a campfire at night growing up in IN, just looking at the stars and listening to the frogs. The crackle of the fire. The warmth. And those stars. Twinkling and shining so bright. Perhaps I'll take a night drive into the dessert one of these days. I hear that's some good star watchin'.


Cycle: (noun) A series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order * The ones God made are good. God-made cycles keep the earth nice and green, make the air breathable, and all sorts of other important things. Man-made cycles? They usually suck. Man-made cycles just seem to get in the way of God-made cycles. Man-made cycles are made because man, as a whole, lacks in faith of God-made cycles and in humbleness to surrender to them. I'm stuck in some man-made cycles.

I'm kinda... out of mind right now. Just a little. And I'm in this unhealthy cycle that only perpetuates itself. I'm anxious and depressed. My response? I've been feeding the stress; downing all the sugar and caffeine I possibly can. Sounds like a stretch, but no, its not. If you've ever dealt with anxiety, you understand how powerful stimulates can be. So between racing thoughts and emotions and the sugar and caffeine I'm cramming in, my head is spinning. Not to mention bizarre sleeping patterns I adopt during times like these...

And work? Wow! There's this terrible man-made cycle that's just plain 'ol good for nothing! Instead of following the instincts that God has given me to operate in this field with, I've fallen into a cycle that's sort of just evolved between poor agency preparation and staff laziness over the past few weeks. The lack of programming leaves me feeling defeated, so I come into work defeated before I even get started. Almost a cycle within a cycle here...

Breaking out of cycles is hard. There's repercussions. But breaking out of a man-made cycle to fall into a God-made cycle is worth it all. I open the Word and find answers to all my questions. Right there they are. My thought process right now? Be still and know He is God. Work chaos? Practical, real life consequence and common sense applications. Doing what I know is right and trusting that it's worth the battle to implement.

Trusting God; the beginning of every God-made plan for man.
Have faith. Be bold. Breathe. Seems most good cycles should involve breathing somehow...
Here we go! Breaking out...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

change me.  change me.  change me.  change me.  change me.  change me.  change me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Snapshot: 030212 1148 PST

Hiding from the world in a nest of blankets and pillows.
Can't seem to get out of bed today.

So darn comfy.

That's what matters.

Sometimes I get to thinkin'... and that's never a good thing.

What will tomorrow bring?
What's the point of today?
And yesterday? What was up with that?

Everything changes, but so much stays the same.

I can't help but wonder about the future, and to hope it brings something... different.
I love where I'm at. I love my career. But I'm tired.

There's never an end. Or a beginning.
Just patterns. Repeating patterns.

Variations are few and far between.

It's a selfish desire to want more.
To feel more. To be more.

Sometimes I just become discouraged and lose sight of the big picture.
Sometimes I just want something final.
Something complete. A product. An achievement.
A "there! got that job done!"

God has a plan. He is big. And in charge.
And he'll be glorified.

That's what matters. That's what matters. That's what matters.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

100 Days #25

Matthew 20.

This chapter includes the parable of a master of a vineyard (Matthew 20:1-26). Let me paraphrase; this owner of a vineyard highers some guys to work for a denarius. Let's just say, to make it more applicable to today's society, these guys were working one long day for $50. When the job is almost done, a couple of new workers show up, and the owner decides to go ahead and pay the new workers $50 too, even though they're only putting in 1 hour of work while the original workers have slaved away for a whole 8 hour shift. Of course, the guys who worked the full shift are upset that the newbies are being paid the same amount, so they start to gripe. The owner simply reminds the workers that they agreed to do their work for $50 and how he chooses to pay the other workers is his business. "Take what belongs to you and go." He says,  "I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?"

This parable brings a couple thoughts to mind:

God doesn't always operate how we think he should, and it's not up to us to question him or to even try to understand how he chooses things to be. Worldly ways are not godly ways. Also, the fruit of salvation is offered to all who accept Christ, whether its while they're young and live a long life of discipleship, or if they come to Christ ten seconds before death. 

Chapter 21