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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Happened??

There are many days in my job that are really difficult. These may include working with difficult and hostile clients or children that have been severely injured, among other things.

But one thing that is a struggle for me on a regular basis is not knowing for sure, one way or the other, whether an incident actually occurred.

There are the parents telling one version of the story....

Family, friends and other collaterals telling another version of the story.....

And other professionals such as law enforcement, medical staff and mental health professionals providing yet another piece of the puzzle.

I am a very black and white, right or wrong kind of person so I find it difficult and frustrating when I can't make an incident finding fit into one of two categories--REASON TO BELIEVE or RULED OUT. Reason to believe (RTB) means that more than likely the incident occurred. Ruled out (RO) means we can conclude that more than likely the incident did not occur.

It's a simple concept. One would think. But it can become quite difficult to pinpoint fishy details, especially when there is a lack of physical evidence and all one has to go by is what people are saying happened.

I despise not knowing for sure about an incident for my own reasons but more than that-child safety becomes a huge concern. If I can not say comfortably whether abuse or neglect has occurred, the children I am responsible for are at a greater risk and that is terrifying. It is a heavy burden to bear, for sure but don't get me wrong-I do love my job. I feel like most days more good is done than harm and I try my damnedest to ensure children are safe. I also pray to whatever god there is to protect these children when and if I am unable. That is the best I can do and it will have to be enough.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's new with you?

Well, it's been a while since I've written. I get so busy with my crazy life and this is the first thing that I drop when I need a break!

Since my last post (which I can't even remember at this time) I have started graduate school. I am working toward my Master's Degree in Counseling and getting my LPC. Once I am done with my Master's I plan to pursue my PhD.

Cray cray, right?

But I just feel like there is so much more to learn and I am in my prime-no babies which are the biggest plan breaker-so I know this is my time to DO IT!

I have also been working as an investigator for Child Protective Services for almost a year now. It has been terrifying at times, horribly sad at others but extremely interesting every single day. I have seen the filthiest, most deplorable living conditions as well as severe abuse and vindictive family and friends filing false report after false report. Cases run the gamut of abuse, neglect, family dynamic and home conditions but are sometimes completely false.

Although this job can be extremely exhausting, trying and emotionally taxing, I feel fulfilled and challenged every day. There is excitement, drugs, and the opportunity to solve mysteries! I may sound morbid but I LOVE my job! How lucky am I?!

Anyway, other than grad school and work keeping me busy, my husband, my boys and my dogs take up the rest of my time! The boys are growing like weeds! They are not little boys anymore and that is crazy to me. Where has the time gone? My hubby is now a deputy in our county which is great. We get to cross paths fairly regularly with our jobs and that makes me all kinds of happy. He's my love so any chance to interact with him makes me elated. I am also proud of him for the job he does; it is dangerous and scary with terrible pay but he is so good at it. There isn't much better than being able to truly respect your husband.

Alright I think that is all for now. I will try to post soon.

Things to look forward to:
5k run on Saturday
Spending time with my BFF and her lovely baby Friday and Saturday
Having Saturday night all to myself

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Texas Country Girl

Hey there readers! I have spent the last couple of months driving all over this great state I am lucky to live in and I have realized two very important things:

1.   Texas is HUGE! You are probably thinking "DUH"! Everyone with a map or brain knows how big Texas is but until you drive across it (or anywhere in it, for that matter) it is very hard to fathom the true distance of this state. If you are not from Texas you may not know that opening a state map (a paper one, you know those things we used before Google and GPS?) is a task unto itself and refolding that map is pretty much impossible. And there are about a million roads on the map so it is not fun to try to read either.
       I remember going to New Hampshire with my dad a few years back and at the car rental place at the airport, they gave us a map of New Hampshire since we were out-of-towners OBVIOUSLY and it was literally the size of a sheet of notebook paper. 11x8.5. Un-freaking-believable. I spent 30 minutes flabbergasted at the minimalness (that's not a word, is it?) of that map. There were about 13 roads in the whole state and it was like an hour to everywhere! Simplicity is wonderful!

2.    The second thing I realized while driving for 945875844958 hours and miles is that there is some FANTASTIC music that comes out of this state. Specifically I am referring to the Texas Country Music scene also known as Red Dirt Country. This music is written for us, by us and about us and it makes me proud to be a Texan! I have been a Texas Country music fan for years but when you are driving endlessly, the mind begins to wander and there are certain revelations. One such revelation is that I have not heard of any other state having their own niche of music. Idaho Country? I think not.
      Below are a few of my current faves as well as some others you should check out. You will thank me later!

      My current favorite Texas Country artist is Johnny Cooper. He is a 23 year old from Wichita Falls. His music is country with a healthy splash of rock and definitely has an edge that makes me want to turn the radio up and sing as loud as I can! Check out Hot Mess, Crazy and Leave as well as every other freakin song you can get your hands on by this kid! I LOVE him!

johnnycooper.com
Twitter @johnnyrcooper

Johnny Cooper
    
     My next current favorite is Texas Renegade (they travel and perform as The Black Matches which confuses me a little...). Texas Renegade is country, country with a great guitar sound (I am no music expert, in case you haven't realized) and an excellent lead vocalist--deep and kind of gruff, which fits perfect with the style of music. Check out More Than I deserve (my FAVORITEEE!!!), Angel of the Moonlight and their entire newest album. :)

txrenegade.com
Twitter  @txr  and  @theblackmatches

Texas Renegade (Eli Carver, yummm!!!)

If you are interested in more Texas Country artists, here are a few:

1. Casey Donahew Band (caseydonahewband.com)
2. Josh Abbott Band (joshabbottband.com)
3. Wade Bowen (wadebowen.com)
4. Roger Creager (rogercreager.com)
5. Stoney Larue (stoneylarue.com)
6. Brandon Rhyder (brandonrhyder.com)
7. Brandon Jenkins (brandonjenkins.com)

These are not listed in any particular order and there are many, many more Texas Country artists that I have not mentioned. Please take the time to get to know this great genre of music. You will thank me later.

Until next time....

Monday, January 23, 2012

My liiiiifffffe!!!!

Hey y'all! So, I am going to give you a little taste of some high points of my life. These are things that make me happy. :)


Watching my step sons play sports is so fun! They love playing baseball, football and soccer and are actually pretty good, lol! This picture of Bryce was last Spring during the All Star playoffs. He was 8 at the time.
Stepson Bryce <3

This picture is of my lovely, amazing, perfectly imperfect, hilarious and redonkulous family. I love all of these guys (dogs, kids and husband included!) more than life! I am so dang lucky to be married to the funniest, sweetest and most honest guy in the world and my step sons are so great! They crack me up and love me ALMOST as much as I love them!

My love: Byron, me, Mason, Bryce, Rocky (the beagle) and Hero (the lab)

The picture below is of my brother modeling. We are so silly together and he likes posing while I TRY to be a photographer! But I actually think he could be a model--or maybe it's my spectacular photography skills... ;)
My super fantastic and hilarious brother, Ross

The next few pictures are of the trees turning at my dad's house/land. His house is one of my favorite places to be in the whole world! It was built with love and is so peaceful and beautiful.

My dad's land

Dad's land

Dad's land

Dad's land

Dad's land

Now the last few pictures are from our New Year's Eve extravaganza! We dressed up and went out with our closest friends, Jake and Lisa and had such a good time! We drank, danced, laughed and I (accidentally) broke basically everything in the bar--glasses, bottles, my dignity...you know, the normal stuff. :)
Me and the love of my life!

Girls just wanna have fun!

And more fun!! 







Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Job: Saving the World


So, for those of you who don't know, I work for a state agency called Child Protective Services. For the past year and a half I worked with families whose children are currently in foster care in the hopes of reuniting families, if possible. Although I absolutely loved working with the kids on my case load, I didn't have much patience for the parents. I was understanding of the bad situation these families came from (usually) but what I couldn't fathom was the lack of effort And concern most of the parents put forth in working services and regaining custody of their kids. It was simple in my mind, this is where we are-the beginning, a fresh start-now is the time to put on our big girl panties and deal with this situation like adults. Or don't. But don't waste my time or worse, your kids'. I had a hard time biting my tongue when parents gave me excuse after excuse for why they haven't done services or made appropriate changes in their lives. I was as blunt and honest as possible with my clients while maintaining my professionalism (which was extremely challenging at times) but this became extremely stressful for me. After a lot of contemplating and soul searching I decided to apply for a CPS Investigator position. This was a hard choice to make because of the potential emotional stress involved in being an investigator (high turnover rate, emotionally charged situations, listening to and witnessing evdence of horrific abuse and neglect as well as quite a bit of on-call hours) but I knew that I would not be able to hold back my anger and frustration with the parents forever. Being an investigator, I will only be involved with the family for about 30 days, depending on the situation whereas before I worked with a family for a year to 18 months. I will no longer be spoon feeding the parents services or listening to them tell me why their paramour is appropriate even though the paramour is often the perpetrator. After reading the intake report I will investigate allegations and come to a conclusion on the disposition (Ruled Out, Reason to Believe, Unable to Determibe). This is an over-simplified explanation but it gets the point across. I am currently in Austin for Investigation training. I am here this whole week and next week and toward the end of the month as well. So far I have learned a ton of information (feel like my brain is going to explode) and everything is very interesting!! I can't wait to finish and get out in the field! Ok, time to watch my shows! Goodnight! -J. Pin It