Thursday, May 31, 2012

nameless. but nice.

Today I got to chat with my dad on the phone for about fifteen minutes.

We're both busy. Add conflicting work schedules and a three hour time difference to the mix, and... well, it's just hard to find the right time to make it happen.

But when the stars align and we do somehow manage to work in a call, I always love them.

There's not a lot of profound conversation to be had, but there's something really special about our calls. After we make our "goodbyes" and "love you's," I always hang up feeling a twinge of... something difficult to explain. Sadness? That doesn't seem to quite fit, but it's somewhere along those lines.

Maybe it's the geographical distance between us that our chats bring to consciousness, or the months that have passed since seeing one another last. Maybe it's old sentiments being stirred, or the strong sense I get from our talks that he simply wants me to be well; that he loves me and wants to somehow care for me.

Whatever it is, it triggers something in me. Gratefulness, longing, loving, and so much more I can't accurately put into words; all wrapped up into one unique and nameless emotion.

But nice.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Snapshot: 051812 1600 PST (Sir William)

We were rockstars. There was lot's of singing.
Later, he told me I needed more "rock 'n roll."
He's probably right.

We also partook in a spectator sport.
He plopped down onto my lap and said, "hold me."
So I did. We watched his big brother play X-Box.

He likes my beard. He said its pretty.

And we learned all about gliding Draco lizards.
I'm not gonna lie. It was awesome.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

caring, encouraging, kind

Hanging out with him is like therapy. He probably doesn't realize it, but it's true.

He's just one of those guys...
Attentive. Empathic. Kindhearted.
An encourager by nature. Genuine.

When he asks you how you've been, he means it. He really means it. Or, at least, he has a vibe about him that makes you believe he means it.

I think we can learn a lot about loving people with God's love by watching this guy; fully engaged with whoever he's with in the moment.

Caring, encouraging, kind.
Thanks, Matt!

Friday, May 25, 2012

from thrones and crowns to bowing down

The God who spoke the universe into existence humbled Himself to wash the feet of men; He didn't descend to Earth to live as a king, but as a servant. He was ridiculed, spit on, beaten, crucified...

Shaun Groves said it fantastically...
"Is it possible that the descending way of Jesus might be God’s way for me?
I’m thankful for the Josephs who govern from pharaoh’s side for the good of the masses, for the Esthers who influence the influencers and change the trajectory of history.

But where are those people called by God to step down, leave behind, earn less, influence fewer, to follow? Does God only call His Son to downward mobility? Or does God call me downward too and I fail to recognize His voice because it sounds too backward?"
Borrowed from here

My flesh cries out in defiance; I want to be one of the Josephs. I want to govern. I want to influence influencers. I want, I want, I want... But I don't want to want anymore. I want to stop wanting.

There is no greater importance for mankind than sharing the immeasurable importance of our Christ. This is our purpose, from the top rung down to the bottom of the ladder. It's an incredible purpose, one I am unworthy of, but gifted by regardless.

Where are the people God called to step down? They're all around. We tend to not see them because they're bowed down at the foot of the cross. Some people are called to be seen for the glory of God, while others are called to be unseen for the same purpose.

We live in a culture where men sit on thrones and wear crowns.
We live with a calling to serve and bow down.

Descending from our own crumbling kingdoms to ascend into His eternal one.
Downward mobility.
Jesus made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:7,8

Thursday, May 24, 2012


In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight...

- Ephesians 1:4-8 ESV

MOG 052412

I've been motivated. I'm working hard in school and really applying myself. Its a nice feeling. I've been on a rigorous diet with Kimberly and lost about 23lbs over the past four weeks. I've had some minor depressing thoughts and feelings about worthlessness the past couple weeks, but they've been fleeting and manageable. My anxiety level has been very low. I was having a difficult time managing anger at work, but this past week was much better. We'll see how this week goes!

Over all, I'm doing well!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Creative things catch my eye, and ear. Something about it inspires me, even when the outlet of the creativity I'm consuming isn't the media of choice...

I can't imagine how many hours it took to piece this mash-up together! It includes almost all chart-topping pop, rock, and hip hop songs of 2011. Unlike any other mash-up I've heard before, the DJ blends the smallest fragments of the songs, down to a single word, and pairs it with others to create an entirely new song. It's pretty incredible! The videos were blended with one another well, too!


So many moments are full of something.
Its nice to just do nothing.

With so many 'somethings' to do, its completely irresponsible to do nothing.
But as I said, it sure is nice :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Snapshot: 052212 1935 PST

Sitting in Theories class.
Watching Carl Rogers perform therapy.

He's incredible.

freedom to serve

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Galatians 5:13

twisted words

Think of a time someone 'interpreted' something you've said and unknowingly, or quite intentionally, invited the wolves in to feast on you.

Everyone has been there.

You know what you mean when you say it. And someone decides they want you to mean something else.

It's infuriating. Right?

God's word. It's not to be interpreted. It's just not. Yes, we need to seek meaning from His Living Word, but His meaning. Not our own.

The bible should be used to illuminate God and bring us closer to him.
To glorify Him and share Him with those who do not know Him yet.

God's words are a gift. A guide to our Savior.
Not propaganda for our personal agendas.

And after all, no one likes for their own words to get twisted in someone else's mouth.

not being Mr. Fix-It

Over the years I've worked with so many teens. Some are vague memories while others remain close to my heart. From time to time I wonder how they're doing and where they are in life. Occasionally, I'm blessed by somehow reconnecting with a past client, but often it comes with a burden; I still feel they are somehow mine to care for when they're hurting.

I hurt for them.
I hurt with them.

I want to reach through my computer screen and hug them.

I believe God brings these people back into my life for a reason, not to 'fix' them or to resume the role I once played in their lives, but to simply be someone loving them with God's love regardless of all things, and pointing them to the cross. I am not meant to be Mr. Fix-It.

I'm just available. That's all that's required of me.
God does the rest.

Feel free to remind me of this.
I sometimes forget.

Monday, May 21, 2012

snapshot: 052112 1200 PST

How can you visit a place called Oceanside and not get your feet wet?

I was in town interviewing a therapist for a school project, and probably should've came straight home afterward to tackle a ridiculous to-do-list.

But instead, I ended up here.
Listening to the waves; watching them pull in and push out.
Toes in the sand.
Admiring God's handiwork. 

i LOVE this

ego boost

I tip-toed down the hall and into the dining room, trying my best to not make a sound in fear that the boy I had just sung to sleep would become coherent enough to realize I had left and call for me to come back, "Natey Pooh!"

She stood from the desk she had been completing the nightly paperwork at. "I have a request," she said. "Uh oh..." I thought. When you hear a coworker say something like that, the mind starts wondering...

"Next week when you sing to the kids, I want you to sing Someone Like You by Adele. It will be my last time ever working with you before I move away to Texas, and I just want to hear you sing it. You remind of her, something about your voice. You're the male version of Adele. You sound just like her, but a man."

Hmm... I like that. A lot. It's nice to get little unexpected compliments from time to time for something other than being a helper, so I decided to document the moment. Maybe then, the next time I'm feeling down about myself, I'll remember it and think, "Hey, I really can do something other than speak calmly while having chairs thrown at my head!"

That and, of course, designing images that look awesome.
I can make some pretty awesome looking things.

Yep, that's my ego :-)

a good work week

Antique car show. Lots of free time for homework and church media prep. Helping a kid save Mario and Luigi from power blasts. Guitar playing and singing time. Enjoying the SoCal sun by the garden...
Not a typical weekend at work, but it was certainly a good one! The most challenging kid in our group-home right now went home for the weekend. He came back about 7:30pm tonight and was quite a handful… but it was good while it lasted! 

We were able to redistribute our focus and attention to the other boys who’ve been somewhat neglected recently amidst the chaos, and the benefits of just being able to spend a little more time with them are outstanding. We have four very happy boys!

And I’m feeling so excited and hopeful! A few months ago, our best-behaved resident took a turn for the worst and suddenly became aggressive and volatile; it’s like a switch was flipped in his brain. But over the past couple days, I’m starting the see that sweet boy we used to know reemerge.

Thank You, God, for the amazing weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

two different fish

I needed help finding something.

First, I was... uh... assisted(?) by what appeared to be a junior in high-school. I don't think she knew the difference between a sketch pad and two-ply toilet paper, but her headband matched her smock and her fingernail polish added a nice little pop to the ensemble. She looked up and smiled amidst her text messaging, too. I was impressed by her multitasking skills.

Then there was this old Native American lady. She basically wanted to give me an impromptu seminar on cultural crafts  while standing right in the middle of isle 3B. We talked about the therapeutic value of arts and crafts for about fifteen minutes, directly following her twenty minute demonstration of an intricate braiding technique.

Finding the little metal hoops I needed to repair my wife's necklace only took about forty seconds. Getting to the point of actually looking for them took almost forty minutes.

My point? I don't really have one; just an interesting observation.

One place: Michael's. One purpose: employment.
Two completely different individuals.

Maybe they were both brought together for a reason. Or maybe not.
Either way, they are two different fish swimming in the same bowl.

when God made time...

I stumbled across this old Celtic saying a few days ago, and it's been stuck in my head since.

"When God made time, He made enough of it."

Of course He did! A perfect author could never write too little or too much.

Like money, time is spent so quickly. Unlike money, you can't make more of it. Time must be the most precious limited resource we've been given. It cannot be replenished, as so many other blessings can be.

If we believe God is perfect and did create time, don't we have to believe He made enough of it?
I do believe God is perfect. I do believe He created time. I do believe He made enough of it.

So what does that mean? Well, I think it means I have some serious re-prioritizing to do. And I'm guessing it might mean the same thing to a lot of other people out there, too.

Busy? Overwhelmed? Feel like there's just not enough time in the day? Well, there is. There is just enough time in the day. It's up to us to be good stewards of it.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Dug Up

A co-worker hit the nail on the head the other day when saying, "This job, these kids, they dig up things inside you you never knew was buried in there."

So true.

Know what else does that?
Studying to become a therapist.

Yep. Double whammy. I'm not saying its a bad thing, but if a little introspection goes a long way, what does a lot of it do?

I'm all dug up.

Its probably healthy, but its also emotionally exhausting...

I need to bury myself back up.
In laughter.
Lots of it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I have rage problems. It may not seem like it, but I do. It reared it's ugly face twice this week. I don't like it. In fact, I hate it.

In abnormal conditions, it's probably normal to get angry. But it's completely normal for me to be in abnormal conditions.

Abnormal is my normal.
So shouldn't I be immune?

Alas, I am not.

A kid tried to bust me in the head with a lamp today. This was after he tried to stab me and after he shanked and bit my friend/co-worker. This was also after a loooooong restraint with him.

So when he came at me with this lamp... I almost hit him. I didn't. But I wanted to. The urge was there. Not just the thought. The urge.

And something very similar happened just the day before.
Same kid. Same urge. Same rage.

Another thorn in my side that leaves me dependent on Christ.
Stinkin' thorns! How many thorns can a side have in it at once?

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills; From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

-Zephaniah 3:17

Friday, May 11, 2012

Today's Writing Prompt: Peace

What is the most peaceful sound to you?

Rain. The sound of rain is so tranquil. 

And the gentle rolling of thunder along with it. 

It immediately alleviates tension in me I didn't even know was there until I'm free of it.

my tea spoke to me this evening...

... and I liked what it said.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Decisions and Questions

My group home's nightwatch staff put in her two-week notice today. Therefore the overnight shift will be open for someone to take permanently. 

I'm so conflicted about what to do! Do I move to nights or stay on days!? Ugh... I would have a lot of free time at work for school on an overnight shift, but my interactions with the kids will be very limited. And they are, after all, the reason I am here.

I never see my wife as it already is. In theory this would give us more time together, but realistically it might have the opposite effect. Who knows!?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.
And questions, questions, questions.

Will there be a pay deduction? How many hours a week is the position? What will my sleeping pattern become? Will I ever see my wife again? Sigh...

So many decisions.
And so many questions.

Some questions can be answered through an email or two. I guess that's where I should start. Maybe the answers to those questions will determine my decision. But maybe not...

Gr. Argh.

defiled purity

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled." Titus 1:15

I'm not sure if there is anything pure left inside him; he is so defiled. It's a horrible thing to say about a twelve year old boy, but saying it isn't the crime. The truest injustice of this child's life is how he came to be this way. 

He was used in awful ways, treated as an object instead of a human being. He had already experienced  such great pain even before the age of five; a pain so great that most of us will never endure half as much in our entire lifetime.  

He has been defiled in every way imaginable, until he became who he is today: nothing pure can satisfy him. He thirsts for filth alone.

Only the foulest music makes him dance. Only the crudest humor makes him laugh. Only the bloodiest movies entertain him. Only the most murderous fantasies can pacify him in play. 

Anything pure and innocent leaves him unsatisfied until he manages to create a new perspective; defiling whatever displeases him and reframing it to fulfill his desire for unwholesomeness. Lyrics to songs and lines from movies are rewritten in his mind and given new terrible meanings. Everything becomes sexual innuendo, an expression of rage or hate, and an invitation to violence. To him, nothing is pure, because there is nothing pure left in him. 

He is defiled, but not without hope.

 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:21

Miracles happen. Everyday. This boy can be made righteous; he can be restored. By the blood...

snapshot: 050912 2300 PST


Kimberly and I successfully watched the Avengers movie tonight, after two previous failed attempts.

It was AMAZING! Srsly.

I want to be a superhero.
With cool superhero friends.

And smash things.
Smashing things sounds fun.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

catching up!

I've fallen behind! It's been so long since I've posted pics. Here's 3 months' worth of catching up!
"Write goals in the presence of a solution rather than in the absence of a problem."

That's what my prof said in class tonight.
I like it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

seek first the Kingdom... do not be anxious

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

-Matthew 6:30-34

Sunday, May 6, 2012

randomocity 050512

- I'm feeling good. Staying positive. Focused. Content. Creative.
- Work has been full of challenges recently but I'm blessed to have a job and I still love what I do.
- Can't wait to hear James' (aka Pink) message tomorrow. I already know its going to be powerful.
- I miss our good 'ol friend, -V-. I could definitely use a late night of watching random 80's movies!
- I have ideas for upcoming blog posts with a little more substance to them, but just haven't had 
  time to flesh them out. I've even began making arrangements with a guest blogger! Can't wait!
- I need to start gearing back up for school, but my brain doesn't want to. Classes begin Monday!
- Last Sunday was the first time I've ever been able to just sit and take in the message at the 
  Branches without any other task at hand. It was incredible. I think we may be building up 
  enough volunteers to start up a rotation in the media booth! I'm pumped!
- Last week was also the first time I've ever played bass in the worship team. I loved the music, 
  the worship, the Presence, the practice, and being a part of the team!
- Excited to say we have some visitors coming soon! Just a couple more weeks!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved..." -Ephesians 2:4-5


Work was absolute chaos today, from the second the kids left school until very minute they fell asleep. Man, I'm tired.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

some pics

He's not the heir to a famous chain of hotels, or a local TV personality trying to generate more celebrity through social media.

He delivers pizzas.
And he loves Jesus.
A lot.

He's also the senior pastor of the Branches Community Church of Escondido and one way he shares his love of Jesus, and shares Jesus' love, is through social media.

FB, Twitter, Foursquare, Blogger, the church's website, endless text messages and emails, etc.

An important part of maintaining an internet and social media presence is helping people feel like they know you. A great start to that is through a good profile pic that reflects you and your character.

I had the honor of snapping some shots of James for this purpose just this past Tuesday. I have a lot more photographs to sort through and edit, but this is my favorite one so far!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Its been a good day.
A very good day.

There was some good sleeping in. Then some good conversation over lunch with a good friend/pastor/mentor/etc. And good times were had taking pictures, which, out of the 128 I took, hopefully at least five or six turned out good.

Kimberly and I then went to watch the kids of our good friends. I made some stuffed peppers which tasted good, and were good for us. We had a good time playing with the kids, and it was such a good feeling to sit in the living room and listen to my wife sing and pray with the kids before they go to sleep. She will be a good mom one day.

Ah... good day.


when you're happy and when you're hurting
when you're singing and when you're silent
God loves you tremendously

when you're obedient and when you're obstinate
when you're faithful and when you're fearful
God loves you tremendously

when you're righteous and when you're weary
when you're strong and when you struggling
God loves you tremendously


God loves you
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.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26