Friday, December 26, 2008

One Month Later

Once again, I am dry on words. I wish I could muse you all with an anecdote, an epiphany, a humorous or spiritually enlightening story, or really just anything worth reading. Yet, once again, everything is exactly the same as it was a month ago when I last posted (and it's been a quick month, like most months tend to be when you get older). This is a bad habit, and I need to get back to the place where I was constantly evolving, changing, etc. Of course, saying it means absolutely nothing without action.

But, I will say this. This is the first year in many, many years that I've been able to tell people "Merry Christmas" and mean it. No, I am not against Christmas, and I am certainly not against Jesus (not intentionally, anyway), but the holidays have always been the darkest time of year for me. So, for me, this is huge. The Lord has ministered to me in a powerful way this season. I'll spare the details here.

And today is my last day of work for 11 days. Holla. Big Balla. Shot calla.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Am I A Musician?

Since I was young, I've wanted to be used by God in a mighty way, to have an impact on the world, and for the two to coincide. In my adolescence, I wasn't a very dynamic individual, and all I was good at was making social situations awkward and remembering the correct answers on tests for long enough before I forgot them. Then, piece-by-piece, I discovered that to some extent I was capable of doing all things musical. Perhaps it was at that point that I found my niche.

Only, there was (is) one small problem. It is very natural for me to use music as a means of expressing myself vulnerably. When I'm in front of people, I prefer to be perceived as strong, not weak like I am. I tell people about my love & passion for music and how for years it has taken up a sizeable chunk of my time, yet many of those people have never heard me sing, toot a horn, strum a guitar, pound on a piano, or burp my ABC's.

For years I have been hung up on this. Prior to my adolescence, I loved being in the spotlight. I would do anything in front of as many people as possible in order to win their attention, if not their love & affection. I've never quite figured out what had changed; all I've ever known is that something did change, and something inside of me caused it.

We were discussing missions at church a few days ago, and how it specifically pertains to one's individual personality and abilities. For many of us, our jobs would be our first guess as far as a platform for missions. As much as I love people, though, I am called to work as unto the Lord, and I work best with little social interaction. I am open to deep conversations with co-workers, however it often interferes with work duties when the opportunity comes up. The next place my mind went was music. How can I use music as a platform for everyday missions? And why aren't I doing that now?

And then it hit me like a bastard child on my doorstep.

I often associate being strong, competent, etc. with greatness, and I often make the mistake of associating greatness with being the best. Too often, I obsess over how people perceive me & my abilities compared to other's. I shy away from openness with my artistic abilities because I am not the best, and I know it. I perceive that others would spend their time comparing me to someone greater than immersing themselves in the moment. Chances are that you would disagree with that notion. Chances are that you're right to do so.

What is the point of greatness if it's not being used for the Kingdom? What does it say about me if I'm more concerned with making myself great than I am with making Him greater? With that being said, I am resolving to once again commit to writing more of my own music in order to meet my goal of recording an EP by the end of 2009 - and I expect to be held accountable to this. In addition, once I feel I've created enough decent music, I will search out opportunities to perform in front of people, many of whom will probably think I'm a terrible musician. Even now, I'm considering finding a street corner downtown in the near future and just playing music, whether it be my own, cover songs, or dare I say, praise & worship. I will leave my guitar case open and if money happens to find itself inside of there, I will use it to by a homeless and/or needy person a hot meal and dine with them. If that doesn't work out, I will put it toward my own debt, as I hear slavery to the lender makes Kingdom living difficult.

All that to say...I think I learned something new about myself recently. What have you been learning about yourself recently? Please comment below, as I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy 4th Thursday of November. Jesus is alive. As if that isn't enough, our overweight, greedy little bodies are blessed with far more than we deserve (death, that is).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I currently find myself in a season of weight. No, I have not gained weight, though we can only hope that one day I will. I have a few different situations in my life that are less than favorable, but overall not too much to handle on their own. However, those who know me well enough know that the holidays for me are synonymous with some very negative emotions. Throw anything else into the mix, and you get the picture.

Recently my convictions are leading me to count my blessings and be thankful for even the basic necessities and conveniences I have (that half the world does not), versus giving into jealousy and covetry towards others who have the things I want deep down. Beyond that, the last couple days have been filled with good news:

1. At work, when we received the announcement that we were closing, we were told that by law we had to be given a 60-day notice - not so much for our termination date, but for when we would quit drawing a salary (severance, stay bonus, etc.) - and that the notice would begin with the sale closing. We have all been on the edge of our seat not knowing how much time we have left. However, it was clarified yesterday that our 60 days has not begun, and will not begin until we get an official written letter with a termination date. Ergo, I have a job for at least 2 more months...likely for longer, as we were told we'd probably not receive any notice until at least Janurary.

2. This means that my vacation benefits will still be in effect, and starting January 1 I get 17 paid days off for the year. When my job ends, I can only cash in up to 10 of those days, meaning I need to use some days...meaning, I will not need to cut my end-of-the-year vacation short (Nicholas).

3. Today I had an interview for a permanent position in one of our very small departments who will not be laid off at any point. It would be a lateral move, and the position would be almost identical to what I'm doing now (which isn't great, but certainly ok for the time being). Almost everyone in my department applied for the position, and I was encouraged to learn that I was 1 of 4 people chosen to be interviewed. I also scored 100% on the pre-employment test (the same test I took before I was hired here). The department manger recognized me from my Halloween costume and was glad that "someone with personality is interviewing for the position". It was a pretty formal interview, but it went very well (also an encouragement, as I suck at interviews). She was very friendly, easy-going, and had a sense of humor. Plus, I feel I was articulate in explaining my qualifications and philosophy in a work environment. I should know something by Thanksgiving.

All of this was work-related, but all of this is great news, considering CareerBuilder has virtually nothing to offer someone in my position. This world has little to offer, but thankfully this world is not my home.

Your turn to count your blessings - whether general or specific, I want to know what you're thankful for. What do you hope in?

Friday, November 7, 2008


I stumbled across a sentence in a book which, paraphrased, states "Only secure people can serve God." (Try and take a guess at which Rick Warren book that is.) He goes on to state that those who, for example, have serious pride issues or who seek approval & validation from others are showing signs of insecurity and therefore cannot serve as Jesus served.


We had a few minutes of good discussion on this recently in our small group. Here is what we (and myself) have concluded: as a blanket statement, that is not entirely true. It is evident in scripture that God does not limit His work to those who are most equipped & qualified; He often calls out those who are weak & unworthy of such a calling. However, to serve as Christ served in his time on Earth is to do so without approval, recognition, validation, or reward - often times with opposition or disapproval, that is, if someone even sees you. This can certainly be a problem for someone who lacks security in who they are (or for the Christian, in who God's Word says they are in Christ Jesus).

This can especially be a problem is you read too much into my last statement. There is no denying that we are a broken, fallen people, so of course there isn't a single one of us who doesn't have to battle insecurities in some way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, it is even more true today than yesterday that to follow Jesus we are to be radically different from the rest of the world - for example, what the liberal media has bombarded us with for the last 24 months, and what the majority of America voted for on Tuesday. We are to follow his example for the sake of emulating him, and ultimately (hopefully) offering others that saving relationship, and to do so without expectation of gain.

I'd like to hear others' thoughts on this subject. If someone put a gun to your head, would you say you are a secure or an insecure person as a whole? What insecurities do you most often experience and/or battle? To be a Christian (a true follower of Jesus), do you feel that requires total security, in who you are, or in Christ in you? If so, how well do you measure up? What agreements or disagreements do you have with anything I've written?

EDIT: It was pointed out that in the next to last paragraph there may have been a hint of a personal political statement. Since that was written 3 days ago, it's hard to pinpoint what my exact thought process was at the time. I feel my only intent was to use a current event as an example, which in this case it doesn't get much more current than the election. My comment was directed to us as a society, and how our me-first attitude (i.e. spending money we don't have for things we don't need) has influenced a majority of voters to swing left. Neverthless, it doesn't matter what I think or what I mean to say. My speech should not have a hint of bias, nor should it even suggest that religious & political views are always synonymous with each other. My blog is not intended to be a political platform, nor am I very politically-minded. So for that, I apologize. If my words are ever anything but God-honoring, please call me out, as I know most of you would ask the same of me.

Monday, October 13, 2008


These last few days have brought me some interesting experiences and, along with that, one blatantly obvious conclusion.

We, as a whole, are a selfish breed, and we choose to remain mired in our ways despite the visible destruction we cause ourselves and others.

For example, I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about the plummeting stock market and how our economy is on the verge of another depression. I wish I knew all the technical financial lingo to make it sound like I'm saying something intelligent, but everyone who knows me knows I'm not very intelligent. However, as the expression goes, we've made our bed, and now it's time to lie in it. Somewhere along the line it became easy for people to obtain & spend money they don't have: so easy, in fact, that not only is it a way of life for the majority, but to be debt-free is both rare and "not a big deal." And when we spend money we don't have, those who do will run out. When we run out of money, it becomes very difficult to pay others for their services, and we magically no longer require those services. This means that people lose their jobs. I found out last week that I am going to be one of those people, and to be honest, it irks me just a tad to know that this happened because others have no regard for self or others. What's that magic phrase again? Ding-ding-ding - self-control!

I also had the pleasure of seeing an old college buddy get hitched this weekend, and with that, seeing a couple of my close guy friends who are several states away. A good time was had by all, and there may or may not have been alcoholic beverages involved. Unfortunately, a couple individuals (thankfully it was not more than a couple) did not keep control of their consumption of said beverages. Again, we see how a lack of self-control hurts self and others - one makes an ass of oneself, while those who care about them are hurt because they wants what's best for that person and instead get to witness the polar opposite.

Our selfishness often times appears to permeate our every molecule. I think it even comes out in our sincere attempts to perform acts of selflessness - not necessarily because of impure motives, but sometimes because we take pride in knowing what's best for someone else or even just being right. This is often not the case. At the end of Job 2 (when the bad stuff first happens to Job), his friends were there for him; however, contrary to our natural tendencies, they did not try to speak words of comfort and advice or do anything for him. Instead, "they sat in silence for 7 days and 7 nights, for they saw that his pain was very great." This is probably not something I would've thought of if I was Job's friend. Granted, this was the only time in the book of Job that they did anything right, but that's beside the point.

Beware the footholds that Satan can grab hold of in your life. Though I serve a God who's more powerful than our Enemy, the fact remains that he does have the power to grab hold of us in virutally any way, shape, or form. Even our selfless deeds and good intentions. Look for opportunities to give of yourselves and serve someone else without intent of gain, and in doing so, never stop examining yourselves.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun; Secrets, Secrets Hurt Someone

A few weeks ago I decided to mention an unspoken prayer request to some friends of mine; however, my stupid, blabber-mouth self decided that if I at least gave minimal details, the others could at least pray more specifically without knowing too much information. I decided to mention the bare necessities of the situation, as it involved another mutual friend and my confidence level was not looking so hot. Of course, while I didn't mention names or subject matter, what I didn't count on is that any of these people would remember what I had said to them.

A couple weeks after that, I was gathered with said people, as well as Said Person. One of the said people decided to take it upon himself to ask me for an update on what I had mentioned in front of everyone, including Said Person. Though Said Person's attention seemed to be diverted at the about awkward!

Just the other night, some of us guys were shooting the breeze when one of them said, "Hey, I know I'm changing the subject, but I was gonna ask..." with a humongous grin on his face. You know that's the one you get when somebody asks you about a member of the opposite sex. However, I quickly silenced him and politely stated that this was off-limits and not open to discussion.

At that point, I would've been fine. Nevertheless, it is me we're talking about.

Prior to the questions being brought up, we were talking about how certain situations amongst our mutual friends are bound to create some form of drama - mild or otherwise. Like I said, I would've been fine...had I kept my mouth shut. Instead, some synapse in my brain misfired, convincing me it was necessary to mention that if it were in reference to a girl, then the very thing we were discussing would be the reason I would not want to mention any details.

Then, my friend's facial expression went beyond the goofy grin. His eyes began to widen & gleam. You know that look...the one that says "Say no more...I know exactly who you're talking about...and it is JUICY indeed!"

It was unmistakable.

The moral of this story: if you're going to keep a secret, keep the secret a secret, and so on. No one is as dumb as they may seem, especially when it comes to other people & social situations. Give them a little, and they will take a lot.

To my long-distance friends: I appreciate everything about our friendship, including the distance, except for the part about not talking or hanging out very often. Secrets are much easier to keep in close proximity when they are leaked out at a distance.

I wish I was better at keeping secrets.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Je-rry! Je-rry! Je-rry!

I'm toying with the idea of purchasing a mobile home at some point within the next few months.

That is all.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Once again I have kept all few of you waiting, and yet have nothing to bring to the table once again.

I often tell people that the cleanliness of my work and/or living space is a pretty accurate picture of the order of my life. Right now, my desk is cluttered with useless crap and the front of my tiny apartment is in disarray from a week ago Sunday. However, I can now see my bedroom floor. This is an improvement, if nothing else.

My level of security & self-esteem can be described as waning and inconsistent at best. In laymens' terms, I feel bogged down by sin and most of the time lonely, even though there are several people in my life who "claim" me and a God who promises to fill any voids. Usually I'd go spend money on myself when I feel like this, but that's not something I have much of. Although I purchased a Boss TU-2 chromatic guitar pedal tuner for a good price, it's hard to allow myself not to feel guilty about it.

You'd think in these times that I'd devote more time to working on music, reading, cleaning, or practicing spiritual disciplines. I search endlessly for inspiration, yet I remain lacking.

As always, if I chose to get to the heart of the issue, I'd discover it's probably my own damn fault.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I have nothing that I feel inspired to write about (that I haven't agreed to not share in a legally binding document); hence, why I've avoided blogging over the last several days.

Have I accomplished anything recently? No, not really. Have I solved any of my problems? Certainly fact, some may have gotten worse. However, today, I am on the upside of my instability, meaning that for no particular reason whatsoever, I'm feeling good, and things aren't getting me down. Some would call that secure. I would call that "luck of the draw".

And that is where I'm at today.

And I get to go water skiing this weekend.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Urbanization, Hepatitis, Power Rangers, & American Idol: How to Spice Up Your Life

I appreciate all feedback received on my last blog post. Unfortunately, pencils are considered obsolete around this office, I have little interest in TV (especially without TV reception), and you couldn't pay me to read celebrity gossip. :-) As for the haikus, I think that is a hilarious idea...unfortunately, any department-wide e-mails have to be pre-approved, and I don't see that going over very well. However, I have been spending a little more time on Wikipedia checking out demographics for different areas people call in from. One of our biggest clients is the City of Tempe (AZ), a suburb of Phoenix. That area defines urban sprawl. I could not imagine why anyone would want to live in an urban the desert, mind you. Last night I saw a program on my friend's TV where they were in Phoenix and it was 105 degrees! Sheesh! But I digress.

Even in just the last week, I think I'm making a little bit of progress as far as being content in the here and now, but also in making real effort to make my life a little less monotonous.

Today my office is hosting a blood drive, for which I signed up to participate in. This is a big deal, as in 2002 I had a very negative experience attempting to donate blood. Now that I'm a water-holic, I figured it was safe to try again. Unfortunately, I had to open my big mouth and tell them I had hepatitis 12 years ago. Then I couldn't remember what type it was - it was in 7th grade, and hepatitis is hepatitis when you're vomiting non-stop. I would have to go to extremes that are not worth going to in order to determine what type of hepatitis I had whilst puking during several episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Then, off all things...not even my own mother remembers me having hepatits!

Finally, I have a friend who is a local youth pastor and aspiring musician, who has responded to a double-dog dare from his youth to audition for American Idol next week at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. In response to this dare, he then suckered me into auditioning as well. So, on August 7th & 8th, I will be taking some paid vacation time to audition for the next American Idol. If anyone needs me at some point after that, you can find me at the top. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things To Do

The nature of my job is often pretty busy and ongoing. However, I would say that about 25% of the time, there are no incoming calls, and nothing to be followed up on. During that time...well, let's just say I can only check e-mail/facebook/blog/etc. so many times, considering the low volume of correspondence I receive. So to the few of you who actually read my blog, I am opening up the floor to new & exciting ideas for filling up my free time! Go!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Killin' Time

I have reached a painful conclusion: I feel this is what I've been doing for the past several months.

In several ways, this is a very good thing. For example, I've been out of college for over a year; for me, college meant, for the most part, all work and no play. I still wonder if I'm fully recovered from burnout. Those who know me know that I give my all in anything and everything...until I reach burnout.

However, somewhere in the mundane, I believe I was really connecting with people and doing other things which matter in light of eternity. I honestly can't say I feel the same way about this current season in my life.

Case in point: the music minister at my church is rotating me in & out to play acoustic guitar (and maybe sing in his "mini-choir"). Last night I practiced with the praise team for the first time. Even with being plugged into 3 different pedals and an in-ear monitor, the reality is that with drums, bass, two electric guitars, keys, and multiple singers, an acoustic guitar is a subtle addition at best. I know from my experience in similar setups that I have never been able to hear the acoustic guitar underneath anything...except 1 other acoustic guitar. While this is in part my response to conviction that I need to be serving in my local church somehow, it's hard to convince myself I'm not just a warm body wasting space. Disclaimer: I know that both big and small acts of service count in the eyes of God, and I am not denying that.

Since moving to KS, I have fallen into a "peer group", per se. They're great when I want to do fun stuff and for the sake of not being by myself. Things appear good and healthy to anyone that would look upon me...and us. However, let's face it - they haven't connected with me, and I haven't connected with them. They don't know where I've been, what I've faced, what I've experienced, who I've known, or the full extent of my extremely Type-C complex personality. I'm certain I've either been pegged as too much or too little.

I recently had a birthday lunch at Lambert's Cafe, where there were far more attendees than I ever anticipated, thereby causing me to further stretch my mingling skills. Reality hit me hard when for the sake of former college acquaintances, I had little to account for over the last year or so. And of course, I didn't talk about when my car flooded because I wasn't thinking about it, and it's hard for me to condense that.

I am by no means just sitting around and having myself a pity party, nor am I seeking your attention. Those days are left in the dust with Xanga. Besides, I somehow keep myself busy with plenty of things. Nevertheless, for the sake of making myself write and keeping this blog updated, this is where I am at today...just killin' time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Patriotic Rant

I show that nobody has updated in a few days...myself included. Now that I'm back into blogging purely for the sake of writing (and not for attention or popularity), I hope this "community" among friends does not die off so quickly this time around.

This last 4th of July weekend I had a last-minute opportunity to go down to the lake in N.E. Oklahoma for a day of water skiing and baking in the sun. When I wasn't wiping out on the water, I had a little bit of time to reflect on "Independence Day".

As I'm sure many would agree, when I think of the 4th of July, I think of a nation with not only innumerable resources, but innumerable freedoms to use those however they wish. I think of meat being cooked, games being played, TV's being watched, bodies of water being occupied, and resources being hoarded. My conclusion:

We. Are. Spoiled.

I think of how the Lord designated the Israelites as his chosen people. I think of how in spite of their sin & rebellion, He continued to bestow His blessing upon them (for a time). Because they continued in their wicked ways despite God's favor, He extended the "blessing" to a new group of people, not limited to locale or nationality; this was based on one thing: Jesus. Because of Jesus, we, the church, are now those chosen people. We are the ones experiencing God's favor, whether it feels like it or not.

Unfortunately, the parallels line up all too well, as we are also Israel - walking in the same sin, partaking in the same rebellion. In my own opinion, America is the worst example; I don't say this because we are the most hateful or violent nation, but because we are the most blessed, blind to Whom the blessings come from, and yet as a majority we are purely driven by a word called "me". We take everything we're given and continue to take advantage in a very self-destructive way.

I am grieved by this.

This is a time in my life where I have a list of unanswered questions for God which will likely remain unanswered in this lifetime. Add to the list: Why America? Why do You continue to bless us so (especially we who call ourselves followers of Jesus) when we are blatantly living in rebellion? I truly believe a day will come when we are one of many persecuted third-world nations...but why have we made it this long so far?

To the church, I offer this challenge: go against the norm. Break free of this stereotype. In everything we say and do, let us ask ourselves how this reflects the heart of Christ. Are we making a sincere effort to bring glory to our Creator in even the little things? Are we using our "stuff" we've been given to truly bless others (and in doing so, bless the Lord)?

I'm afraid to give an honest answer for myself. However, today, let us be spurred on toward Godliness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I feel that part of my hesitation for writing full-out blog posts is due to feeling a need to impress you. The other day I was meditating on this and came to a very profound conclusion: it's not going to least, not today. There have been no recent events significant enough to measure up to these expectations which I set for myself. (Actually, that's not true at all. However, I don't feel I have any significant events that are appropriate to write about.)

With that being said, I give you...the mundane. Currently I am sitting in my very own private cubicle. Things are mostly silent, it seems. This is good. While I don't feel my job truly fits under the category of "stressful", I have been experiencing a natural stress over learning the ropes of my position and talking with providers' offices, pretending like I have experience working with health insurance. This has been one of the most calming moments I've experienced in the last 2 weeks I've been "on my own". No calls are coming in. No matters need to be followed up on. No faxes need to be forwarded on. Nobody needs me to send them a copy of everything. There is no work to be done. This is great.

For our callers who don't like to remain on hold, they have the option of being transferred to a general voicemail for the entire queue. The responsibility to check these voicemails has fallen on another one of our reps, who just left for vacation. In an attempt to make myself look good to my supervisors, I volunteered to help keep up with these voicemails. Fortunately, there have been no messages for me to return. :-)

However, I did receive the call from hell today. A New Yawker (Yorker) from a dentist's office started throwing out all these procedure codes (which I advised to her I could not look up) and terminology even my supervisors have never heard of before. I was probably on the phone with her for upwards of 30 minutes. When I finished with the call, I literally threw my headset against the wall of my cubicle. My boss laughed. But hey...perhaps my job would be obsolete if other people did their jobs, eh? Who am I to complain? If this is the worst story I have so far, then I certainly have no desire to do so.

In other news, I will be meeting a Mr. J. (and I think a Mrs. J?) in Lee's Summit for dinner next week. He's a decent enough fellow that I'm even willing to meet him in Lee's Summit. Grrr, I hate that stupid town! I'm so glad I don't live or work there anymore. Kansas rules!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scheduled Outage

I was going to write a new blog post. But, I just noticed that there's a scheduled outage at 4:00 P.M. PDT...that's 6:00 here. It's 6:00 now. Whoops.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We Are Family....Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

This last weekend I made an excursion outside of Kansas City for the first time since right before Christmas. I was able to spend time with a good friend talking about real life and other things that are not so important; in addition, we enjoyed breakfast at our favorite smoke-filled mom & pop eatery...without the smoke. I was also able to hit up an old Bolivar, MO haunt (restaurant) with an old friend of sorts, and be with him as he continues to mend a broken heart. Also, I was supposed to call another friend and meet up with her in between; alas, it did not happen. Though she was allegedly not bothered by it, I still felt bad...on one hand. On the other, I felt important, as apparently there was not enough of myself to go around. That's not a feeling I often experience.

I did not return to my old home of Willard, MO until Saturday evening. By that point, I had slept so little and traveled so much that I was exhausted. It normally bothers me quite a bit that my family is ok with complaining about what's on TV and the proceeding to watch it without any kind of real interaction with each other. However, on that particular evening it was just what I needed. My stay there yet again turned out to be less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, I left with a sense of gratefulness for knowing what I have waiting for me, as well as what I'm free to leave behind. Try and figure that one out, Trebek.

Most importantly, this last weekend was a milestone of sorts as I reunited with my half-brother Tom, whom I haven't seen in 10 years or spoken to in 7 years. I wasn't terribly worried about it, save the anticipation of slight awkwardness. I arrived expecting to hit up a nearby restaurant and be on my way. Instead, Tom and his wife Jessica greeted me with smiles and barbecue burgers, introducing me as "Uncle Tim" to my niece (Sophie, age 3) and nephew (Jack, 7 months). My stay went on longer than expected as we maintained a natural, relaxed conversation, and as I held Jack and played with Sophie. I guess it's true: you never know how much fun it is to be an uncle/aunt until you are one. This was only the 1st time, mind you.

It was a successful, yet tiring weekend, topped off with a visit to a dairy farm in Harrisonville for milk straight from the cow. After several weeks of sleeping difficulties preceding that, there are few things sweeter than falling asleep and actually feeling like a grown-up. Well...almost.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reviving Flood

While my search for inspiration continues, I thought I would explain the meaning behind my username. When one sees "revivingflood", they likely think a) that it's something cheesy and spiritual, or b) that it's a double entendre of sorts (floods do the opposite of reviving...they drown and kill people). If you fit into one of those categories of people, then please know that it's only a half-truth. However, those two half-truths could be seen as combining to form the bigger picture. In that case...good for you. Go stuff yourself with chocolate chip cookies, why don't ya?

August 20, 2007 is a day that I will never forget...I hope I never forget that day, at least. To forget what happened that day would be, in my case, to forget what the Lord has brought me from, where He's taken me since then, and the many undeserved gifts & blessings He's chosen to bestow upon me; particularly, the gift of life.

The summer of 2007 was an interesting one for me. I was fresh out of college, having earned two Bachelor's degrees with honors (technically). I moved back in with my parents (depression & isolation waiting to happen) to begin my quest to pay back my debt...educational and otherwise. However, in spite of my qualifications and success, I found myself working overnights as a convenience store clerk in the Springfield ghetto...Meth Country, basically; this paid barely enough to finance my search for a real job during the day, like the jobs filled by people like me with education. Needless to say, I was having a very hard time with things before "it" went down.

On the morning of the 20th, I came home from work to eat breakfast and dress up so I could apply for substitute teaching in the boonies. It had literally been raining non-stop all night, but because the Ozarks is known for bizarre weather patterns, and because working overnights had eaten my soul by that point, I thought nothing of it. Had I actually turned on a radio or TV, I would've been thinking differently.

While driving outside of Walnut Grove, MO, it began raining so hard that it was impossible to see anything clearly. With that being said, I inadvertently drove right into 2 feet of water (and counting) on a flooded bridge. My car died instantly, and as the current grew stronger, my car was swept off the road. In my failed attempt to make it across the bridge, I grabbed onto a sign, which eventually gave way, pushing me upstream.

The fact that I made it out alive is clearly a miracle. At that point, it was irrelevant, as I was broke, without a vehicle, isolated from meaningful relationships, and going nowhere in life. It didn't help that my boss still made me go to work that night, either.

My point is that on August 20, 2007, I was literally forced to abandon my hopes and plans for the future...or at least my perception of God's plans for me. Apparently God & I have some communication issues...hmm.

I've written more than enough, as those who know me already know the rest of the story for the most part. I still find myself wanting a lot of things that God's not allowing me to have. I still find myself asking God a lot of "Why?" and "When?" questions. Nevertheless, today I am closer to my Creator than ever, and continuing to grow closer to Him. I am nowhere close to having my debt paid off, but He is providing me with the finances I need (though I'm still making less than even most teachers). I am even enjoying living in community with several other like-minded individuals, and am blessed to remain friends with even a few who are not-so-near.

As we continue reading up on each other and searching for blog-worth inspiration, remember the following: a life lived outside of God's plans is not worth living; if you find yourself questioning God's plans for your life, do not forget that He is a mighty, sovereign God. As you ask Him to reveal Himself, be prepared for a God-sized response. He can move the mountains...even moreso, your vehicle.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Starting Over?

It's been a long time since I've been able to write a serious blog of any sort, and today is no exception. However, today I was greatly encouraged to learn that some of my former Xanga buddies are making a return to the Blogosphere. In addition to expressing my own self through writing, I love to read the words of others, especially those I have the pleasure of knowing personally.

I also just realized that I'm only stating the obvious...or moreso, the redundant. Nevertheless, consider this my public statement of my intention to begin writing regularly again. My creative side and I have been apart for quite some time, and my soul longs to be reunited with this, its other half.

P.S. To clear up confusion (Cary & Joel), I actually re-titled my blog so that it now reads "A Life-Related Blog". I'm not far into my new job, but something tells me that health insurance is not very blog-worthy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Career Change?

This morning I accepted a job offer which includes significantly better pay, less of a commute, normal daytime hours, and of course, MUCH less stress than my current position. The funny thing is, I'm not even using either of my degrees (though I'd assume holding a bachelor's degree plays some role in determining my starting pay). I will be starting as a customer service rep. for a third-party administrator. Not exactly what I saw myself doing out of college, but I'll take it. The last several months I've felt strongly led career-wise into the direction of the business world. My goals right now are to pursue an M.B.A. and claw my way into human resources somewhere. The best part is that the EPOCH Group (where I'll be working) is a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City, meaning I will have plenty of opportunity for advancement; at PFH, however, it did not take me long to see I was led right into a dead end. But, case management has served its purpose for me, and I truly do feel I've gained something from this position.

I will spare you all the sappy details. However, the purpose of this "work-related" blog has been defeated, as I will be drastically changing jobs. I suppose I'll have to do some tweaking.

P.S. Last week I interviewed for a similar case management position, where I had the opportunity to explain my company's unethical billing practices and lack of overall structure. Following the interview, one of the interviewers approached me to say that PFH hasn't changed a bit since 10 years ago when she worked for them. Ouch.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I am possibly breaking confidentiality here (and therefore breaking federal law), but seriously, who in their right mind names their daughter Rusti?!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Awkward Co-Workers

I'm obviously back from Florida, and it's been a rough week as far as re-adjusting to my responsibilities here. However, I think I'm doing much better now than I was at the beginning of the week. Now that the week is almost at a close, here's a snipet of a conversation I just had with our OCD/passive-aggressive receptionist:

Her: Tim, I'm leaving for the day. I've already talked to Cris (our boss) and she's aware of it.

Me: Ok...are you not feeling well or something?

Her: No, I'm not, really.

Me: it a cold or something?

Her: No, it's my time of the month and it's killing me! Hey - you asked, right?

Me: Hmmm....

Ok, I know it's a natural, biological thing. But wow...what do you do with that? I also have to say that menstruation and mood disorders can't be a good combination. At all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Has anything ever given you that "uggghhh" feeling on contact? If so, then you know as well as I do that it's the feeling of burnout. I'm definitely feeling it too - enough that I've almost stopped caring about the 30 hour/week quota I'm required to meet. You know you're burnt out on your job when you're ok with not meeting the biggest requirement for keeping your job.

It's fitting that the header on my blog says "The Other Side...Of What?", because for now I know "what" - Friday. But it's not just the start of any weekend to rest up for the next week. This Friday marks the start of my week of paid vacation! While the rest of our short-handed staff is slaving away, I'll be experiencing a different kind of burnout: the kind that involves the sun, my white skin getting less white, and of course, hot white sandy beaches!

Of course after that's all over, I'll be back to the daily grind...unpaid overtime, pee tests, driving a big ugly blue van around the KC suburbs, bureaucracy, you name it. But all I know is that next week I won't have to worry about that. And, without next week, the week after next would suck even worse.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winter Bug

For the last couple of months, I've repeatedly stated how surprised I am that I haven't caught the winter bug that everyone else has, considering I spend so much time around teenage boys who don't practice the best hygiene, and that I handle so much of their pee on a daily basis. While my body continually fights disease valiantly, all it took was one night of only 4 hours of sleep to precipitate what I knew was coming eventually.

In all honesty, it hasn't been that bad. However, at random times of the day I find myself completely exhausted and unable to concentrate for very long. The ability to use my brain is pretty much shot as well. So here I am, two days behind on paperwork. I'm going to leave it that way yet again, as I am starving and getting kind of sleepy.

For this reason, guess where I'll most likely be spending my Friday night: right here in this office.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Adolescent Graveyard

For every client that comes into this program, our counselors perform an evaluation known as the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN). On the GAINs, there are a ton of questions the client has to answer, and they are broken down into several categories and sub-categories. For example:

Sexual Activity and Orientation. ***** reported no history of having any kind of sex with another person. He identified that his current sexual preference is for females only.

Of course, I can guarantee you that the number of our adolescent clients that have actually been honest in this section has been extremely low. Either a) they don't want to say how bad they've been, or b) they're too prideful to admit they ain't gettin' any. But I digress.

This is probably what disturbs me the most:

Spirituality. ***** considers himself to be a Non-denominational Christian, considers these religious or spiritual beliefs to be very strong, considers these religious or spiritual beliefs to be very important and considers these religious or spiritual beliefs to be an influence on decisions.

Granted, this is not what one would find in most of our gains. However, it almost horrifies me that so many people are ignorant to the reality of what that means. Even worse, they pass these faulty ideas on from generation to generation. The client in particular whose GAIN I copied that from could not be living more contrary to that. From my experiences, I don't even see a hint of Christ in him. I'll spare you the details.

Only in WASP middle-class suburbia...except not at all. It's one thing to be adamantly rebellious and carnal, but if I really knew how many people around us were among the walking deceived, I'm sure I'd be in tears.

Oh God, wake these people up from their slumber. Vaccinate the epidemic that is their spiritual deception; let it crumble at your living Word. May even one small part of the mounds of worthless crap I'm doing be used by you to change one of these kids' lives and bring them to freedom in Christ.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bureaucracy At Its Finest

I decided I needed to make a second blog for today, as there was another interesting event that happened within the craziness of today.

During a group session today, the kids were lamenting over the lack of a convenience store within walking distance (which the old office had), and talking about how hungry they were. So, for whatever reason, I decided I could take them all down the road to Taco Bell during one of our breaks. This was going to take 15-minutes, tops.

While we were pulling in, the office called me on the van cell phone (yes, we have a cell phone, for the company van), asking me to pick up another kid in Lee's Summit while I was out. It turned out that this kid lives on the far south side of Lee's Summit - there is a great distance from the north side (where we're located) to the south side...I guess that makes Lee's Summit skinny(?).

So about 20 minutes later, we're driving around this remote subdivision in the middle of nowhere, because our driver misread the mapquest directions he printed off. Finally, we find the house by a fluke.

Immediately after that, I get a phone call on the van cell phone from my supervisor. Basically, she said everyone was pissed at me because I took all the kids for that long (and apparently didn't tell her, which I didn't know I was supposed to do), and nobody could meet with kids to get their billing hours. Our program director and regional director were both in the office during this incident too, so that only escalated things. Later she called me in to her office to "reprimand" me. She gave me this form to sign which she filled out, stating that it was not a write-up, but that they had to document that we had this conversation and that the issue was resolved.*

*I worked at Wal-Mart for a month before I got this job. A very similar situation happened because my 1st week I worked too many hours, although one of my supervisors scheduled me those hours. They too said it was not a write-up, but weeks later when I told my co-workers about this, they all stated otherwise.

I think I'm done here, folks.

You Wanna Be A Case Manager Too!

I just read on that the majority of people in the U.S. (who responded to their poll) work between 40-60 hours per week. Somehow that still doesn't make me feel better.

Today has been absolutely crazy-go-nuts. Since breakfast, I haven't had anything to eat except for a few potato chips. Our regional supervisor (boss's boss's boss's boss's....) asked us to be here early for staffing/intense file review. We had probably 20 files to do, and 3 hours later, we had 3 of them done. Immediately after that, since schools here were cancelled, we had to make phone calls to get the kids to come earlier than normal (so we could get out of here before 7 p.m.). As soon as I was done with mine, I was asked/made to pick up a kid in Blue Springs since our afternoon driver was not in yet. As soon as I get back, I was asked/made to pick up another kid all the way in Independence (the bad part, if that means anything to you)! So basically I'm driving for almost 2 hours straight. As soon as I finally get back from that, we have kids here, so I had to run group sessions for 3 hours. After that, I had to give UAs (pee tests) to some of the guys, then chase staff down to make sure the group logs were accurate, then update the group logs, then scan them and sent them to the corporate office.

And here we are: it has officially been an 11-hour day.

Now that we are moved into our new office space (a blog in itself), our higher-ups are really pushing us to hit the 30-hour billing quota (another blog in itself) that nobody here has been hitting since before I started working here. That's 6 hours a day, and thanks to the day's time-wasting activities, I'm still here trying to come up with the remaining 30 minutes of billing to meet my quota.

So, there you have it. Remember, tomorrow night is Friday, and while you're out bangin' your hoes, or bringin' all your boys to the yard with your milkshake, or whatever it is you do...this is where I'll be, and this is what I'll be doing.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The new week has just now begun and I can already tell it's going to be a doozy.

On Thursday our office will be moving into a new building, and somehow we are still expected to continue our normal operations as if we haven't gone anywhere. The new building is basically exactly like this one - same square footage, and located in a shopping center - but unlike this building, it's actually been renovated since the 1980's. On Friday night I had the intention of staying late to get caught up on entering my notes, since I have such a happenin' weekend life and all. However, my boss's boss's boss's boss decided to take half of the clients' files home with her over the weekend (which I'm not sure is legal?), so she could audit them before they got audited for real. As a general rule, we need the files in order to pull information to complete the note and remain compliant with our accreditation service.

Now I have a client who is evading rehab. I waited for him at his school, called his house, called his mom's cell phone, and even went to his house, where his car and two other cars were sitting. But nothing. Yippee skippee. He has a court date this week, and I bet his mom is miraculously going to come out of the woodwork and ask me for a good progress report, in spite of the fact that he hasn't had a negative UA (pee test) yet. Good luck to you, ma'am.

I must go now. Our boss's boss's....boss left us 20+ pages of things to correct in the files. I know this is exciting stuff,'s ok to breathe now. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I guess you could say this is a new endeavor. New job, new location, new life, new blog...fitting for the new year, I suppose.

18 years of academia and tens of thousands of dollars later, I find myself in the real world.

My current occupation is a mix of social work and bureaucracy...or at least it's the best description I can come up with. With this line of work, I find the need to take frequent short breaks, which I typically spend looking for something on the Internet to stare at, like most people do. However, my favorite social networking sites are blocked at my place of employment; and, I've discovered recently that this here gem of a beauty is not blocked, so I thought I'd give it a go. Google, you've done it again. :-)

Maybe I can use this as a work-related know, for the interesting things that happen with the "druggies" I work with, which I'd otherwise forget to tell anyone about. Or, I'll post songs I write, or pointless, random, self-centered crap, just like everyone else. I guess we'll just have to see what happens from here.