Friday, August 31, 2012

missing those moments

Missing those moments. Complete randomness. Loud, obnoxious laughter. Late night runs for junk food. Photo ops in the Aztec. It's been too long, -V-! Hoping to make new crazy memories with you soon!

passive sins / devastating effects

"So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins, such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a more devastating effect."

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, August 23, 2012

recording Shine

Did a quick little recording of a new(ish) song today with Mr. Canady in Matthew Thompson's home studio (Google him! Great man, great musician. Buy his music!) All songs I've written mean a lot to me, but this particular song seems extra special. It's about deliverance and hope, and is somewhat a testimony of what God has done for me and what He's become in my life. "You're light is brighter than the dark is deep! You're might is greater than my heart is weak!" Some of the lyrics are incorporated into my blog's banner up top, and the concept of this song inspired this entire blog design. (That is, now, of course. I'm sure I'll change themes and banners many more times over the years and stumble across this post and think, "what was I even talking about?") I didn't exactly leave the studio feeling like Adam Lavigne, but I didn't leave carrying a soul-crushing disapointment with me either. It was a great time, and I was pleased with the final product! It felt good. God Shined.

at least the cover will be good

I am going to write a book one day. I suddenly became certain of it Saturday night while driving to work. Nothing in particular triggered the thought, it just came to me. I've played around with the idea before, but now I'm almost positive that, one day, before I die, I will have a published book sitting on the shelves of one or two people who saw the well-designed cover (which I WILL design myself; therefore it WILL look fabulous) and they hoped that the contents would be at least half as good (no confident boasts there, as of yet). As far as what its about? We'll have to see... but I'm thinking its going to involve a lot of different little stories about hope, faith, and grace. A documentary of sorts. A collection, tied together with some witty narrative. And a great cover. Don't forget the cover...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MOG 082212

Getting all worked-up about something that hasn't even happened yet, and most likely won't happen at all.

Just anxiously waiting the attack.
Lame! Moving on...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

jerks and something supernatural

I haven't even asked him his name, but I already know the cliff-notes of his life; drugs, alcohol, crime. He's downwind and all I catch is a whiff of flame-broiled deliciousness of the Burger King nearby, but I'd bet money he smells like pee and booze. He's not even within arms reach of me, but I suddenly take notice to the weight of the wallet in my back pocket. I even give myself the 'ol patty-pat just to make sure it's securely in place, not peeking out for grabs. I fiddle with my phone a little. This is a great technique, offering an easy-out to uncomfortable eye contact while sending a powerful message; I can use this to dial 911 if necessary.

He's made one bad choice after another. He can't hold down a job. At one point in life, he had everything he could ever need but squandered it all away. He's gonna ask for money to buy food with, but really he's saving up for a six-pack...

Maybe I'm the world's biggest jerk here, I don't know. But I'd reckon I'm not the only one who's jumped on a one-way train to Judgment Town when a beggar walks my way.

This is me. That's who I am. My flesh. My nature.
That guy who says hi and hands over a couple bucks?
That's Jesus doing that. Jesus. Not me.

You see, if you happen to see me doing something helpful or nice for somebody, please understand, you are not witnessing an act of kindness. You are witnessing something supernatural. A miracle. A progressive transformation, as I decrease and the Holy Spirit increases within me.

In the Book of Luke, Jesus gives us a clear description of what it means to 'love our neighbor' through a parable about a man who was robbed, stripped naked, and brutally beaten. His attackers left him to die in the ditch along the road. A priest came shortly afterward. Surely the priest would help! But no. The priest carefully crossed to the other side of the road in order to avoid him.

I'm sure, in that moment, the priest became aware of the weight of his coin purse, and gave it a good tug just to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. He probably even held his breath until he passed by a little. After all, a mangled mess along the roadside couldn't smell all that fresh...

Soon, another passerby came down the road, and just like the priest, he avoided the dying man like a leper.

Finally, the Samaritan showed up. He skipped the cliff-notes and conclusions and jumped straight into action. He didn't tuck away his coin purse for safe keeping, he opened it up to pay an innkeeper to care for the man.

I am simply called to help. I don't need to know their story. I don't need to know the how's and why's of their circumstances. I don't even need to know if they're just gonna land right back in the ditch I helped them out of. I don't need to know those things.

And neither do you. Simply help.

If we needed to know those things, Jesus would have included it in His parable, but He didn't. But don't take my word for it. Read it yourself HERE.

This way of loving our neighbor, it's not me. It's not within me to do. But it is in the nature of our Creator. And our Creator is within His followers. In fact, we are built to become a dwelling in which God lives (Ephesians 2:22).

If you've asked Him to dwell in you, prepare yourself for awkward eye contact and conversations with smelly people. Prepare yourself to hand over a couple bucks. Be ready to help someone up without knowing if they'll continue to stand on their own or if they'll just fall right back down.

Prepare yourself. Not to do these things. But to watch God do them through you. And thank Him. Thank Him. Thank Him, for using a bunch of jerks like us to demonstrate His Love...

Because that's what we are. Jerks. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

week one down!

No, I haven't been snacking on brains... but I have been feeling a little bit like a zombie lately...

My first full week of working overnights wasn't all that bad, but I've been more nap-dependent than what I thought I'd be. 

You see, I had it all planned out... I'd leave for work around 10:15pm and return home around 11:30am the next day. I'd be asleep by noon and wake up feeling lily-fresh around 5:30pm!

The plan? Probably not realistic. And that's where the naps come in. Beautiful moments of blissful slumber. Sweet, lovely naps...

The shifts themselves are great. I knock out a majority of my tasks as soon as I clock in, saving just a  bit of 'busy work' to get me up and moving again around 4am when I start getting sleepy. 

And all that time in between? Homework. Lots and lots of homework. And some graphic design stuff for church.

I do have some continual responsibilities even after my main tasks are complete, like room checks and tending to residents waking up from nightmares, etc., but overall, it's the perfect schedule for a student!

Around 5am the kids start waking up. Yeah, you read that right. 5am. 
Kids these days! They just don't appreciate the awesomeness of sleeping-in...

That leaves me with about six hours of time interacting with the kids. Those six hours can be brutal after staying up a whole night without sleep, especially considering most of our boys wake up ready to rumble. But I'm grateful for that time with them. After all, the kids are why I'm there.

So other than adjusting to the new sleeping pattern and feeling a bit like a zombie, I'm loving my new job. It's a good balance of tasks, downtime for homework, and interaction with the kids.

I'm blessed God brought this opportunity to me!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

4.0 feels fantastic

I took the final exam today in my Counseling Skills course and earned forty-eight out of fifty points.

I am pumped!

I have an 'A' in the class.
AND have maintained my 4.0 GPA!

Woot! Woot!

I didn't do too hot my last few semesters of undergrad.
So this 4.0 feels fantastic!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Snapshot: 081212

*Lots of swimming. A dip in the hot-tub even though it was already 90 degrees outside. Land Before Time and Chicken Run. Photography 101 with a five-year-old. Mario Kart. I love these kids. They are my therapy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I am officially standing somewhere between these two fighters here; the sun and the moon.

Starting tomorrow night at 11pm, I will begin my new third-shift position. 

That's right; I'm an overnight worker now.

I requested to step down from my position as a facility manager so I could focus more of my energy towards school. With some persistent pleading, I was given my requested demotion without taking a demotion in hourly pay.

It is an answered prayer. My new position will be a few hours less a week, which will mean less money overall, but its a necessary change. I'll get through my classes faster this way, and I'll be able to continue working full-time in this position when I start my practicum some day.

It will take some adjusting as far as sleep schedules, etc., but this is a good thing. For a large portion of my shifts, the kids will be sleeping and my responsibilities will be limited and easily knocked out within a couple hours. After that, it'll be homework and study time until the kids start waking up for school.

And as far as the money goes? God will take care of us. He'll see us through. And one day soon, within the next couple years, I will be a licensed therapist :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Snapshot: 080712 1200 PST to 2200 PST

*Sprinter to the Oceanside Pier, dinner at Vintana, and The Dark Knight Rises. Good times with good people. I love this day!

MOG 080612

an·ger /'aNGgÉ™r/ (noun)

an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation.

I've been reacting; retaliating. 
Offended. Wronged. Denied. 

But have I? Really? How have I been offended or wronged? What have I been denied?

One of the things I appreciate the most about this particular definition of anger (there are many variations out there) is the use of the word interpretation.

It's all about perception. We often feel entitled to things we're undeserving of, so its easy to feel wronged or denied when really, we've just unknowingly experienced a healthy dose of reality.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the recesses of my brain. Maybe I'm processing some long repressed garbage from childhood. Maybe I'm experiencing an existential crisis or some other phenomenon that has been occurring since Adam and Eve took a bite of the naughty fruit, but has only recently been assigned psycho-jargon.

I don't know what's going on. All I know is that my fuse is short, and its been lit. My patience is down and my frustration is up. I'm angry.

I've been learning about grace lately. Part of me is wondering if I've ever truly accepted the grace I've been given, and if I've demonstrated grace within myself. I was also learning a lot about deliverance, but my interest began waning, so I've set that book aside. Perhaps I've never completely accepted deliverance from myself, my past, my flesh, etc., which is what drove me away from the topic.

Nonetheless, I'm praying, or trying to pray, for more grace. More deliverance. A renewed perspective.  A storm to be calmed.

light of the world

Monday, August 6, 2012

outrage, pt.2 (reminders and prayer requests)

Read outrage, pt.1 here.

grace like rain

I love this book so much that its taking forever to finish! I find myself rereading every few paragraphs before moving on to the next.

Who couldn't use a little more grace in their life?

I highly recommend this book to all Christ-followers who hope to share God's love with others through simple daily interactions (which by definition, should be all Christ-followers, right?)

Look up "Grace Like Rain," by Jeff Petherick, or borrow my copy!


Every 2.8 seconds, one child dies in poverty across the world.
That's over 30,000 deaths a day.
And more than 10 million a year.

This should be our greatest outrage.

But it's far from it.

Instead, we're worrying over who is or who isn't eating Chik-fil-A. We're angry at the guy who pulled out in front of us on our way to work. We curse about the price of gas. We're mad when our favorite TV shows are canceled and when we find a hair in our salad.

Every 2.8 seconds a child dies.
It just doesn't sink in. Why not?

Is it because we're too busy thinking about ourselves?
Or is it because it's too painful to not look away?

All I know is, I don't care enough.
Yes, you read that correctly. I don't care enough.

I'm not nearly as outraged as I should be.

What would my life look like if I WAS as outraged as I should be?
What would the WORLD look like if we were ALL as outraged as we should be?

You can be sure of one thing; things would look different than what they do now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

other times / good times

The world of group-home care.

Sometimes its tough. 
Real tough.

But other times? 

Other times you spend over an hour just making a kid laugh hysterically by taking crazy pictures  together.

Other times. Good times.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Do you feel older or younger than your chronological age?


I'm pretty sure this is not supposed to be a trick question. After all, it's a "one-minute writer" prompt.

But it's a toughy.

I am twenty-nine.
It's a weird age.
For me, at least.

I've accrued some useful and unique life experiences. I've been around enough to make a plethora of mistakes to learn from. In many ways, I am seasoned.

On the other hand... I feel ill-equipped to tackle the more practical issues in life.

Crisis? I can deal with. Everyday life? More challenging...

So I'm riding the fence on this one, and taking an easy-out:
IDK. Both. Young/old/all-that's-in-between.

How about you?

*BTW, fusing my original pic with an aged pic (generated by the Droid's age-booth app) was fun. I love little creative projects that take ten minutes or less! Good times!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

quack kindly

"Why is that when we (Christians) voice our opinion, it is (called) 'hate'?"

I saw this question being asked on FaceBook today. It caught my attention because, well... the person who posted it often voices their opinion in hateful ways.

I've built relationships with a wide variety of people and I've learned something; nearly everyone is capable of hearing, acknowledging, and at least tolerating opposing views and belief systems when they're presented to them with respect and sensitivity.

FaceBook nasty-grams? Probably not the most effective way to send a message...

This particular FB post I'm referencing was directed towards a couple issues; same-sex relationships and politics. I couldn't help myself but wonder how many gay friends this person has. How many friends with strong opposing politic affiliations?

Did Jesus blast out nasty-grams via the hottest social networks of the time? No! What would that have even been back then? A messenger riding off on a camel with a big 'ol scroll under his arm? Anyway... No! Jesus was not the nasty-gram kinda guy. He was more of the "let's do lunch," type of fellow.

What's my point? Well, first of all, you can't deliver from a distance. You have to be a part of lives to change lives. Second of all, you have to consider your audience and be intentional in your approach. I'm not talking about messing up the message, I'm talking about modifying the messenger. Are you noticing those around you recoil when you voice your opinions? Are words like 'hate' used to describe your tap-dance on the soapbox? Chances are, one of two things are happening:

You're either (1) failing to communicate concisely, comprehensively, considerately, or compassionately... OR (2) The person you're speaking with is feeling convicted of sin in his or her life and wishes to avoid that discomforting truth by deflecting it back onto you, the messenger, as being hateful.

All we can do is BE INTENTIONAL and PRAY. Unpleasant status updates about Obozo lovers and the (insert preferred offensive slang for the LGBT community HERE), are well... just hateful. And although it's not always the case, just remember the old saying, "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..." Same applies to hate. Quack kindly. Mean ducks suck.