Thursday, October 30, 2008

What really is "social work?"

So i am volunteering at CPS for my child welfare class. Last friday, i went on my first home visit. First of all, the unit that i was placed on sees the most intense cases of neglect, no sexual or physical abuse because the unit receives funding to help provide their families, who are in extreme poverty for a variety of reasons, so they can use that money for rent, furniture, food, ect. I'm not even kidding when i say that these clients have nothing. So, anyways-i was pretty nervous about doing home visits with my supervisor. Not scared of the clients, but scared of the way the houses were going to be and my reactions to it, because EVERYTHING is written all over my face, and i keep hearing horror stories. But, Father just really gave me peace that He was going to take care of me and my reactions, and it ended up being really great. The client we went to see was a single mom who just moved here with her two young kids from Liberia. She shouldn't even have a CPS case one her, my supervisor was talking about the investigator and how this shouldnt be on our intense unit, but glad that it is because she is getting services she really needs. One day her little boy wanted to go across the street to play with a neighbor so she walked him over, and a couple of hours later came back to get him, but he wasn't ready. The neighbor said she would walk him over. So a little while later, the neighbor's 16 year old daughter was walking him across the street, he started running, and a car came barreling through and hit the little boy. He's ok, but she got a case opened on her for neglectful supervision, something that was a complete accident and could've happened to anyone. She lives in a really bad neighboorhood, but she is trying so hard. She is going to school and has a job to try and support her 2 kids. She's so sweet and such a good mom, and she just does not understand why she has a case on her, which is understandable. On friday we took her lots of clothes and toys for her kids, and i've never seen anyone so appreciative. She just couldn't believe all this was given to her for free. My supervisor was telling me that each client gets around $3,000, which seems like alot i know, but they need it, truly need it. And there is a ton of paperwork the caseworker has to fill out about what they spent it on and the clients have to sign all these papers, so it really is alot of work, and unfortunately, alot of caseworkers don't want to do the paperwork, so they dont spend money on their clients. That is such a shame! I love my supervisor because she spends every dime.

So people always ask me what im getting my degree in, and when i say social work, there are two types of reactions i usually get. The first one is usually, ew...good luck. Thats dangerous. The second one is...social work...like sociology, what's that? No, not sociology because sociology focuses on studying large groups of people. Social workers pull from sociology, anthropology, and psychology. We focus on helping the most oppressed and vulnerable populations, which are usually minorities, children, the elderly, the homeless, drug and alcohol addicts, domestic violence, people with mental illnesses and those who are terminally ill, adolescents, offenders, prostitutes, anyone with a big social stigma attatched, we help. I found out real quick, I am one of the only Christians in any of my classes. And you know what...i think that is pretty sad. And those reactions i get...are usually from Christians. I'm pretty sure that if youre a follower of Jesus Christ and a part of His body, you're called to do "social work." I'm getting a degree in this, and im very convicted at the fact that before i started learning about the profession, i realized i shouldve already been doing this for awhile now. I was "scared" of "those types of people." What is that? I'm pretty sure in looking at the New Testament Jesus crossed every racial, ethnic, social class, and social stigma possible to reach the lost. Why don't we do that? Why are we so scared? And in being in recovery, it has taught me so incredibly much about how we "rank" sin. My sin of bitterness is no different than the sin of the prostitute, because in reality i am whoring against God by putting my hope and trust in man rather than Him. So what, they may live in a different part of town that's "worse" than what most of us live in, but i'm pretty sure Jesus went into those "bad" parts of town to reach the people no one else wanted to touch. We weren't called to stay in a bubble, and i don't need or have to have a degree to reach the oppressed and the lost. As a believer, i should already be doing that. Just some thoughts, i'll stop preaching to myself and everyone else who reads this. I just really thought about that alot today. Enjoy :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

He got me flowers :)



So for those of you that know i'm going through recovery right now, we started our inventory last week. and inventory sucks. inventory means you go back and fearfully search your heart in the areas of abuse, sexual immorality, guilt and shame, resentment, and fear and anxiety (so pretty much everything). we have to write down in narrative form everything that we've done wrong in that area, what people have done wrong to us, and how we responded. so needless to say, i had a really tough week and this continues for the next month. well i talked to Lanny on saturday and he told me to look out for something that may make my day. i was like ok you're being weird. my roommate hannah called about an hour later and said that our apartment called and said there was a package for me but they close at 4 so i had to get it before then. i was like i didnt order anything, that's weird. so i waited around till about 3:55 and walked down to the office as they seriously were walking out the door with keys in their hands to lock it. i told them i had a package, and they said, "A package or flowers?" I was like no i dont think flowers, no one would send me flowers. I told them my apartment number and they said, "Yeah, flowers. Here you go." i just kept thinking wow this is weird. Lanny's not here who else would send me some random flowers? so when i got to my apartment, i opened the note, and lo and behold guess who they were from? Lanny! All the way from Kazakhstan! i was so excited-they were my favorite, daises of course, and it was just perfect timing! they're sitting in my room, bringing me joy every day! He's pretty good huh ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance! (said in a brittish accent)


Ahhh....my favorite tv show ever...it only comes on in the summer...it takes normal dancers, the best choreographers in every style of dance, put it together and you get this awesome show...So You Think You Can Dance! it's like american idol, just alot better and it's dancing instead of singing. (i think it would be alot more difficult...but im a little biased). so the top ten dancers from the show go on a national tour together...and of course, they had to come to dallas and of course, i HAD to go see them! so friday night at nokia theater, me and lacey went and saw our favorite dancers. it was bliss for me-just like one massive dance recital, except sad day i didnt get to be a part of it. it was actually one of the first "recitals" i've ever watched and never been a part of, kind of weird. so i took some videos of my favorite dances that they performed from the season. the first one is a contemporary routine by mia michaels, danced by katee and josh, two of my favorites (and josh represents texas so well). The second one is of my favorite girl (who shouldn't have been kicked off before Comfort, but i'm not bitter) Kherrington and second place winner Twitch. This is another Mia Michael's routine and was probably my second favorite of the season. The song is Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer. Now, Lanny and I LOVE J-May, and this song happens to be one of our favorites. Her creativity in this is insane-i love it.
And lastly, i wish this video would have turned out better. this was my favorite dance of the season, Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. Tabitha and Napolean choreagraphed this lyrical hip hop dance. I seriously could watch this dance like 100 times in a row and never get tired of it. Chelsea and Mark do such an awesome job. Because of the lights in this one it is hard to see unfortunately, but you can still get the jist somewhat. I would've just focused it on the big screen, but i was too enthralled watching it i wasnt even looking at my camera. If you've never seen it, youtube it. Chelsea plays a wife (or daughter) who is mad at her husband (or dad) because he keeps leaving her for his job. it's awesome. the show was so great all together. maybe in a year and half when i graduate-i'll audition. probably wouldn't even make it past the first round, but it would be cool to try. so...enjoy everyone! And get hooked next season ;)






video video video

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh the things kids do...

On sunday mornings i serve in Little Village-the kindergarten class. This morning me and the 2 other teachers, Josh and Jen, only had one little boy named Gabriel. He's quite the character...a little on the nerdy side, and totally believes that he is a super hero. This morning he came walking in with a superman shirt, but it had a g instead of an s on it. We have this cubby hole in the room that has a door on it, and the kids always want to get in there and hide. We never let them, but since Gabriel was the only one, we didn't care. I was turned talking to Jen when all of i sudden i hear the cubby door open and Josh say, "Where are your pants?" I turned and looked and there stood goofy Gabriel, with his super g shirt on and shorts. His reply, "I'm not in my underwear, i'm wearing shorts. Superheroes can't wear pants." Jen and i were rolling at this point. Josh replied with, "This is not a wardrobe change. Put your pants back on. Superheroes do have to wear pants. Look at me, Miss Christa, and Miss Jen. We're all superheroes and we're all wearing pants. Get back in the cubby and put your pants on." So reluctantly, he did. Oh my gosh i could NOT stop laughing the rest of the morning. I'm still laughing about it right now. If only you knew this child, it would make the story all the more better. I hope that put a smile on your face. I'm sure between Little Village, Stretch-N-Grow, and dance i will have plenty more stories to share.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recovery at the Village

So first of all, i've been a terrible blogger. i forget that i have this now, so i'll have to get used to it. sorry for no updates in seriously a month.

Ok well i have been attending The Village Church for about a year now and love it there. This semester i have become really involved. I'm serving with the kindergarten class on sunday mornings in Little Village, and recently started with another ministry called Recovery at the Village. Everyone always asks what this is. I love this ministry. I love it because recovery is not for what we say are the "big sins" like drug and alcohol addiction, pornography addiction, things like that. It's for sinners (so that means everybody). When i go to recovery and introduce myself, it sounds like this: "Hi, i'm Christa. I'm a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I'm in recovery for codependency, bitterness and anger, and fear of man." What i love about it is it's biblical teaching about, honestly how completely messed up we are because we're inherently bad, however, we have God's grace. And because of God's infinite grace and love, He uses messed up sinners to further His kingdom. At the village, they encourage you to go through the step studies as well. This is step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. Man, as a creature in relationship to his Creator, has fallen from a place of dignity, humility, and dependence to a state of depravity, pride and rebellion. Any attempts on his own to redeem himself are futile, only increasing the problem of independence and self-sufficiency. Therefore, because the problem is sin, I am powerless to overcome it and my attempts to control it only increase the chaos.

This first step was huge for me. First of all, i grew up in a church where i was always taught: "It's your fault. You have to fix your own sin. You have to take these 3 steps (that all rhyme) in order to fix how horrible you are." And so for years i've wondered why i try and try to improve and get over my sin, yet i can't get passed it. no matter what all my attempts fail. i got through this insanity cycle of sin (step 2). I realized through studying the first 3 chapters of Genesis in my study through recovery, God revealed to me that I'm powerless to sin. There is absolutely no way i can overcome my bitterness. But, because of the cross and God's grace, only, only in complete surrender and daily dependence on Him can it be done. And He is the one that does it, not me. I have to daily surrender and be obedient, knowing that God took that sin. Will i struggle with it? No doubt, because that is my inherent nature. But i can learn to struggle well with Christ. Tonight, i celebrated 30 days in recovery. It is very hard. Very hard to have to confess and be held accountable to repent, to have that secret, dark sin be put into the light and be completely vulnerable and utterly exposed. But, i dont feel judged. Because anyone who spends one day in recovery realizes, hey, everybody is messed up. I'm not the only one! And every sin is equal in God's eyes. So my mom found this on youtube today. It's a church, who by the grace of God and movement of the Holy Spirit, has been changed through God's tool of recovery. These are their cardboard testimonies. Mine would say: Makes unstable man my god, and gets consumed in bitterness and anger. There is only One God, and in Him I find all my joy and peace.

Friday, August 29, 2008

CPS

So i finished my long 11 hour school day yesterday! it actually wasn't that bad since it was the first day of class, i got a break before my night class and then my night class was only 45 minutes long! but that will probably be the only time that EVER happens! well....my first class was child welfare which im really excited about. i found out i have to fit yet another thing into my crazy schedule. this semester i have to volunteer with a social worker at child protective services. and we'll almost be like an intern. i'll get to help with cases, make house visits, go to court, all of that. i'm REALLY excited about it. i've been thinking that i might start off working at cps when i graduate just so that i can get to know the system really well, plus, there's just such a need for good, solid cps workers who really have a passion for the well being of the children and their families. when the lady from cps was talking to us, she did make me a little nervous about the house visits. she gave us some very graphic stories about the types of places we might be walking into. i won't go into the details become some of it i was thinking "how in the world will i be able to do that and not offend them with my facial expressions?" i show EVERYTHING on my face. and i CANNOT do that. on those days, the girls were instructed to wear closed-toed shoes and and a shirt that has a high neck. Just one example....we have to do that because roaches might be falling from the ceiling. but don't get me wrong, child abuse is everywhere. it does not discriminate against race, gender, or socioeconomic status. i'll be going into some million dollar homes as well. so i'm really excited about it-it's going to be a great experience for me.

For those of you that don't know, i've been volunteering at this place in denton called The Nelson Center. The Nelson Center is a residential treatment center for kids who have been a victim of severe sexual and physical abuse. After CPS removes them from the home situation, they give them an assesment. Levels 4 and 5 are the worst, and only children ages 5-15 on those levels come to the nelson center. Foster families won't take them right off. They can house up to 60 children, and believe me when i say it is ALWAYS full. these sweet children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, many of them cut themselves, are/were suicidal, have alot of anger management problems, ect. It absolutely breaks my heart because they have these problems against their free will. because of someone else's purely evil actions, they were physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred from some MAJOR trauma. it is not their fault and they could do NOTHING to defend themselves. After i started volunteering there in february of this year, i found that i would love to work at a place like this, or cps to try to cut it off from the start and really deal with the parents as well, because they need help too obviously. and surprisingly, most of the children at the nelson center are boys. these kids stay at the center from 6 months to year depending on how severe the problems and how well they're treatment goes. i mentored a little boy for 6 months and was able to see his transformation. he was able to go back home about a month ago. and yes, because of our lovely court system, some of them are returned home, but most of the parental rights were either taken away or they gave them up freely. so most of the kids are in the state's custody and 9 times out of 10 are adopted after they are placed with a foster family. i am mentoring a young girl now. it is very hard, but i LOVE these kids. and will do anything in my power now and when i become a licensed social worker to fight back against abuse.

On a lighter note, my spanish professor showed us a hilarious you tube video today. it's called the One Semester of Spanish love song. im in my upper level now so it's even funnier...but if you know any spanish...it should be funny to you. so with that said...here you go!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day of class

So today was my first day of class. it was good...i stress out from the time i get the syllabus to the end of the semester. the day im really dreading is thursday. i go to school for 11 hours straight with absolutely no break. ugggh!!!! but, it beats not having class monday, wednesday, and friday. so i guess i'll take that! today i had spanish class (which i love it's one of my most favorite classes!) and then a social work class. my sw class is going to be difficult. and it has a lab!!! why does social work need a lab class?? i dont know. but this is the first year they've done it so we'll see how it goes. i have a lot of projects...stuff i'll eventually be doing in real life as a social worker. i have to video meeting with a "client." i have to give them a proper assesment and all that, i have to for real interview an elderly and give a social history report of their entire life which might be really interesting. stuff like that. nothing with kids though :( but its still good practice. the class will be difficult but good. spanish was great. my professor is from mexico and spoke absolutely no english the entire class (he is fluent in english though people) but i understood and what i didnt i looked up and learned. that will also be difficult but good seeing as though one of my goals is to be fluent in spanish. so...that was pretty much my day!

oh wait...i worked this morning and had a little boy that go so mad he just decided to pee all over the floor. but i still enjoy my job even days like today :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Welcome to the Daily Plié!

So I decided to become a blogger. After all this time giving my sister a hard time that no one ever reads her blog and it's just silly...I decided to convert. I mean why not? I love to journal...why not do it online and make it look cute? plus it's a good way to keep up with people. Really, for a college student, it's just another way to waste time before doing homework (but i'm not much of a procrastinator, i'm a let's get things done kind of girl).

Well to begin, I decided to explain the title of my blog. Most people are going to look at it and say, "What in the world does pli
é mean?" It means to bend the knees in french. Obviously from my picture (which is a
demonstration of a pli
é) it is a technical dance term. For those that know me well know I LOVE to dance and have done it all my life, and now I share my gift with precious little girls. Every dancer can tell you that in every practice, pliés are a must. Without fail, we do them every time. They strengthen our legs, help us with balance and coordination. Even in warm ups in jazz, we do them. I did not realize until I started teaching, the importance of doing them each week, and doing them correctly in all five positions. So I decided it was fit for my blog since I'll be talking about my life and things I have to do every day. So.... I hope you enjoy The Daily Plié!!