Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sleepless Nights

It's about 3:30 in the morning. At 9:00 last night I was ready to conk out, but now I can't get to sleep for anything. So I decided to post an update.

Tonight I went to San Jo with Ryan and Bree to see Love Happens, the new Jennifer Aniston chick flick. It wasn't what I expected, but it was a movie. And I was glad that I went. I love spending time with Ryan and Bree. They are by far my two best friends out here. And they are too of the most intentional people I have ever met. It didn't take me long before I got here and met them to realize that I have spent the last 4 years of my life avoiding deep relationships, and I knew that God placed Ryan and Bree in my life to work on that. It is a daily challenge, but I know it is for a reason.

So I realize that many of you have no idea what I am actually doing out here. Although it is difficult for me to not be detailed, if I were to do so now this post would be pages long, so I am going to try my best to just give a general idea for now.

I work for Advent Group Ministries, based in San Jose, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping adolescents and their families dealing with a variety of issues that have kept them from functioning normally in school, society, and at home. One of the avenues through which they provide services is thier group homes. I live and work in one of those group homes in the boys program as a Resident Counselor (RC). I am basically like a house parent; my duties include- waking up the guys, making sure meals are prepared, driving them to and from school, making sure they complete their house chores and responsibilities, and then making sure they are completing their recovery education work. And then beyond that, I get to spend time getting to know the boys, investing in their lives and showing them how much I care about them and how much I want them to recover from their addictions and adversities and return to life as normal (or as normal as possible).

It is definitely a challenging job. When I first got here I heard crazy stories from staff, and less than 3 months in I already have crazy stories of my own! But beyond the challenge, it is also a blessing. I absolutely love what I do. Love it. And that is completely a God thing.

The first two weeks on the job are a training period, where my senior counselor lived in with me and I was basically able to shadow him as I learned the ropes. The very last night of that period was one of my roughest nights so far. None of the guys were doing what they were supposed to, half of them were acting out, they were all challenging my authority and doing the opposite of whatever I asked, and come Room time, no one was in their room. I was stressed, and seeing as how I was basically being evaluated at this point, I felt totally inadequate. After they finally went to their rooms and I was able to finish up, I went back to my room and just broke down. I called my mom and sobbed on the phone to her, then laid in bed and prayed. As I laid their crying, I found myself thinking "You know, maybe they were a little wild tonight. Maybe some of them didn't do their chore, and they didn't go to bed on time. But you know what? They're here, they're alive, and they're one more day clean. And sometimes, that's all you can ask." After that night I make it a point to ask myself each night "Are they alive? Are you alive? Ok, then we're good." It was a complete act of God giving me that insight, and it has done wonders over the past 2 1/2 months.

So that is my job in a nutshell. I don't want to make this post too long, so I will most more details later, and some good stories every once in a while.

Sweet dreams, and so much love.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good Genetics

Yesterday morning we had a work day from 9-noon to get ready for the Advent Barbecue this weekend, and the Laurel staff spent that time weeding and raking a nasty patch of yard by the volleyball court. I worked pretty hard, with blisters to show for it, and several people made a point to comment about how hard I was working. I tried to not make too big a deal of it, all the while thinking about my Grampa, and how my 3 hours of working in the sun yesterday PALES in comparison to how he has worked his butt of every day of his life for more than seventy years.

Then today I called my grandparents to get someone's address, and he answered. It was 12:30 in Vermont so he was taking a break for lunch, a salad made of ingredients that he picked in the garden on his way in from working. We were on the phone for 11 minutes, close to a record for my Grampa. He told me about the progress he'd been making cleaning up different things around the farm, and other projects he was starting on.

I asked when they were heading south for the winter, and he replied "Well I just found out I've got a dentist appointment November the 4th, so I supp
ose no sooner than that. Mommy's itching to leave, but I'm in no hurry. Too much to do around here."

I can only hope that I will work half as hard during any given period of my life. Let alone 70 years. Or in retirement.

I love this man. I am so proud to belong to this family. So proud.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giving In

So yesterday I was riding from San Francisco to San Jose with Riley, and "I'll Walk" by Bucky Covington came on the radio. If you aren't familiar with that song, it's a very sappy, bordering on corny, country song. I encouraged Riley to stick it out and listen.

At the end I turned to him and said "I've got chills."
He looked at me and said "Yeah, I've got vomit."

After laughing out loud (lol-ing, Tyler) for a minute my immediate thought was that, if I still used my AIM regularly, that would have gone in my away message that night, so that I could share it with the world. But since I don't use it anymore, and I'm not really an advocate for the Facebook status becoming the AIM away message of today, I realized I didn't really have a way to share it.

And then Holland's voice came into my mind. So I have started a blog.

I have never been very good at maintaining a journal, so I figure that every once in a while one of my entries may be like a journal, but for the most part I will just share sound bites and random thoughts that come as a result of my daily adventures. We'll see how this goes.

Thanks Holland. :)