For The Past Two Years, I’ve Been Leading a Double Life

Yes, it’s true. Shocking as it may sound, for the past two years I’ve been leading a double life. While my evenings and weekends blogging have been surrounded in creativity, beauty and truth, my days have been immersed in deception, lies, drug abuse, mental and physical abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

For the last 8 years, between the hours of 7:30 AM and 5:00 PM, I have worked full-time for the State of Georgia as a Case Manager with Adult Protective Services. What does an APS Case Manager do? The “book” definition is to investigate reported cases of neglect, exploitation and abuse against individuals who are elderly or disabled. What an APS CM actually does on a day-to-day basis pretty much defies description.

Ask any Case Manager and they will most likely tell you they never discuss their work with family or friends. If you do, they don’t know what to say. They simply look at you in dumbfounded silence and shake their heads. Anyone who has done casework could write a book, and I promise you it would be a page-turner.

You frequent all the neighborhoods people normally avoid. You try to go early in the day, when it tends to be less dangerous. Your cellphone is filled with the phone numbers of detectives, police, and county deputies because you call on them from time to time to escort you on visits, that is if you are lucky enough to have been forewarned of the danger that awaits. Mostly you go alone and sometimes you wish you hadn’t.

As an Adult Protective Services Case Manager, you get used to being threatened and cursed…a lot. There’s the occasional warning e-mail from your fellow Case Manager saying don’t answer the door or open it if a man or woman fitting this description finds the office. Threats have been made.

It seems family members who are taking Grandma’s money or abusing their elderly parents don’t always appreciate Case Managers coming around and asking a bunch of questions. Those types of cases were sadly frequent and they all too often involved drug abuse. Sometimes the clients are the ones abusing the drugs. They don’t like State workers poking around either. Did you know there are more people addicted to prescription drugs now than heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy combined?

During the past 8 years I’ve worked as an Adult Protective Services Case Manager, I’ve been chased to my car by mentally disturbed clients more than once. Mental Health agencies are overworked and underfunded, so many of the referrals APS handles are for mentally ill individuals, alcoholics and drug addicts.

I’ve been chased by dogs, but that was better than the times I was chased to my car by family members of clients who were begging for money for drugs. I’ve been threatened, cursed and followed by abusers who only the day before were in jail. It’s really inconvenient when the referral source forgets to mention things like prison records and guns.

I once found myself in a room with a very-intoxicated client who was fighting with his brother over a loaded gun my client had just pulled out from under a sofa cushion.  I had asked his brother to meet me there to help me convince him to move out of the basement apartment from which he was soon to be evicted. As my client wildly waved his loaded gun around in the air, boasting that no one had dare cross him, I debated my options: I could throw myself on the filthy, encrusted floor or make a run for the door.

Once I was attacked by a mentally disturbed man living in a Personal Care Home where I was visiting my disabled client. He ran from across the room, raised his arms and fists high into the air and brought them down hard across my arm. As my arm began to turn red and swell, the caregiver with whom I had been talking panicked. She began screaming and all but shoved me out the front door. It was surreal.

I wasn’t the only Case Manager in my office who had been attacked. Another CM who had been doing casework for 25 + years went to counseling for a while after her attack, eventually changing to a desk job to finish out her time until retirement.

During my 8 years with APS, I visited homes many times that were immediately condemned the day after I was finally able to convince my client to move. Some counties refuse to condemn a home while someone is still living there, no matter how much of the roof is gone and no matter how big the holes in the floor.

I’ve been in homes, so many homes where every. square. inch. was crawling in roaches–the walls, the furniture, the lamps, everything. You learn early on to not sit or put your purse down or you will leave with lots of new friends. I once had hundreds of them pour out onto my lap from a book I was handed by a client. Thankfully, I was wearing pants that day. Roaches are bad, but not nearly as scary as rats crawling on rafters in the caved-in ceilings overhead.

I’ve been inside homes where police stood outside and warned me about going in because they had just moments before run out, vomiting, due to the conditions of the home. The worst homes were the ones where the clients would not walk their dogs so the floors were soaked in urine and encrusted in feces. From the road, these homes always looked nice and normal…but they were far from it. The homes where the floors were covered in feces were always the worst, worse than the roaches and rats. And then there were the hoarders. I was not surprised to read recently that there are now three shows on television about hoarders. I have definitely seen my share over the years.

There’s a huge misconception that Case Managers who do Adult Protective Services work spend their days helping sweet, little, old ladies. Those cases are rare and precious. Mostly we find ourselves futilely attempting to assist individuals who due to mental illness, alcoholism, or drug abuse (sometimes all three) have burned every imaginable bridge in their life, often alienating everyone they have ever known including their own children.

A couple of months ago I had a new referral that was a caregiver neglect case. I found myself driving my non-4-wheel-drive SUV deep into the woods down a densely wooded, gravel and dirt driveway, a driveway the deputy I had called for assistance refused to go down.

Both sides of the driveway as far as the eye could see were covered with large, deep, water-filled holes. The deputy told me his sheriff’s car was brand new and only had 42 miles on it, 16 when he got it that morning, and he didn’t want to get it damaged. I rode with one set of wheels in the woods and the other set along the top ridge of the center. When the appointment was over, the deputy was still there, waiting at the top of the drive in case he heard screams for help from deep in the woods.

I could go on and on with stories of the past eight years…stories of drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, physical abuse and mental abuse…so many trips to emergency rooms, behavioral facilities, nursing homes, and jails…hours spent in probate court and in guardianship hearings. But if I do, you’ll just stare and shake your head in disbelief. I know, because that’s what I would do if I hadn’t lived it these past eight years.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, because you are my friends and I thought you should know, there’s been a huge change in my life. After 14 years with the State of Georgia, and 8 years as an Adult Protective Services Case Manager, I gave my resignation on August 17th.  September 14th was my last day.

As I left for home that last day, the sun was streaming in through the windows of my car. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The radio was off and it was so calm, so quiet. As I drove I found myself saying aloud, “I made it out of this job alive. I actually made it out alive.”

I’m not retired, I’m still very much working. I’m writing and blogging and having so much fun. It’s wonderfully strange and very peaceful being home all day. And I haven’t had to call the police even once.

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  1. Wow! What a great post! I'm so happy for you that you can now focus on something positive!! Congratulations!

  2. I found your blog a few months ago and absolutely love the simple beauty. To know you are/were a caseworker only causes my respect for you to grow. My dear hubby is one here in Oregon so unfortunately I understand your horror stories.

    Keep up your beautiful work. I always thought you were working towards a writing book on tablescapes…

  3. Kitty @ Embraceable Life says

    What a gift you were to so many for such a long time. Thank you for what you persevered through. And congratulations on your new phase! I look forward to your blog every time I open my computer. Keep up the great job with all of the 'pretties'.

  4. Sadly I totally get it– life takes sad twists and turns and we never imagine that our working conditions will be something that wasn't meant for dinner conversations.. So happy that you can now concentrate on something that will make you smile!

  5. Sandy at Teacup Lane says

    Oh, my, Susan…I wouldn't have the guts to do a job like that one day let alone 8 years. God will bless you for trying to help these poor people. You deserve a break so enjoy yourself for now and I hope the next career is less dangerous and more pleasant for you. My brother who passed away worked with substance abuse teens in Florida and the few stories he mentioned to me were just as terrible as yours.

  6. On Crooked Creek says

    I am so thankful you are alive and well and no longer in that line of employment. Your blog was one of the first recommended to me by a dear friend over a year ago. I have appreciated every posting and have been filled with multiple avenues of creative and inspiring ideas. Please keep blogging, please keep inspiring and please keep creating wonderul post. God bless you!

  7. Bless your heart. You bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for what you did for those people. I am proud of you. I am also very glad you got out. Whew. Now go and enjoy the rest of your life. Enjoy the sunshine and the smell of the pines, walk in some of that red dirt and be happy. Love Kathy H.

  8. southerninspiration says

    Wow, Susan, I had no idea that's what you did. Glad you can focus on fun things now, and things you want to talk about and discuss with others!!!

    Love all that you put into your blog, and I can't imagine your having done that all this time in your time off! I guess that shows just how much you DO love it!

  9. Southern Princess says

    What a powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Congratulations on moving on. Sometimes it really is the best thing to do.

  10. Susan, God bless you real good!!!

    This kind of work you have completed is one that I have no desire to weather.

    You, my Dear, deserve a refreshing time out.

    Blogging has enhanced my life and I have used it as an outlet to get refreshed. Long story short…sometimes life throws us some curves that take us by surprise. It wasn't what we thought it would be. Surprise! Blogging has helped me stay in touch with others, gather ideas, a creative process, etc. Enjoy it so much.

    I remember when I came across your blog and thought it was so nice. Still do.

    God bless you as you enter into a new realm of life.
    d from homehaven

  11. Thoughtfully blended hearts says

    Congratulations on getting out of that job…someone has to do it and you served your watch and I'm sure helped many people…My friend has spent 25 years doing Childrens Protective Services and it is even worse I think…going anywhere with her was always eventful…we always spent time avoiding certain people…and she always had to carry mace and a weapon…it was a trip…and very scary…
    I hope your new career is wildly successful!!! Good luck!!!

  12. Ahhh I so get it. I am not a caseworker (I would be honestly terrified) but my job does allow me to come into direct contact with the homeless and mentally ill on a daily basis. I know I am still fairly clueless but I honestly had no idea. I find myself vacillating between scared and sad.

  13. Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) says

    Hi Susan, I have seen your references in other posts to the strenuous job you have had, and I knew a little bit about the possibilities of the horrors you must encounter, as my mother in law was for many years an occupational therapist for very needy children in New York City. I can remember the awful situations she found herself in, and the times she was mugged and knocked to the ground before we convinced her to retire. But as I read your descriptions I find myself in tears, both for you and for the abused elderly you are trying so diligently to protect. God must bless you and all others like you who find so much to give to these people. I hope the State of Georgia is able to find another dedicated person to take your place. What is most amazing to me is your ability to come home and see the beauty you translate into your posts, which give so much joy to all of us in Blogland. Enjoy your change of routine–you deserve it! Linda πŸ™‚

  14. collettakay says

    Congrats! I love being at home and somehow still find too many things to occupy my time.

    But, they are things I love to do. Well, for the most part. I still have to clean toilets..

  15. I can't even begin to imagine.
    So many parts of your post made me downright angry.

    I'm proud of you for resigning and finding beauty in your days as well as your nights.

  16. Donna @ The House on the Corner says

    Bless you that you were able to hold on for 8 long years. My husband is a paramedic and has seen some of the same things that you describe. It's hard to imagine such conditions exist but yet, sadly, I know they do. Thank you for all you endured and although I know it wasn't without scars, thank the Lord that you did make it out alive.

  17. Tears in my eyes Susan.

    My mother was a visiting nurse, deep in the hills and hollows of the Ozarks. She didn't dress in the pretty crisp white uniforms nurses wore in those days. Something quite different. She ran into similar situations during that time of her life. Scary scary scary!!

    Congratulations…I am happy to hear you are out of there and enjoying your home, writing and blogging. I am as happy for you as I was when I knew my mother never had to drive down one of those rutted, washed out roads, deep in the woods and up into a yard, not knowing if she would get out of there unharmed.

    Great news!!

  18. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Susan, thank goodness for people like you who cared enough to stay the course for those 14 years, and I am even more thankful that you did make it out alive and have entered this happy new phase of your life!

    You are a very, very special person, and I knew that from the first moment I met you. God bless you and prosper you as you enter this new phase of your life.

    Love you much, my friend…


    Sheila πŸ™‚

  19. Not that anyone needs a reason for craving serene beauty, but suddenly I have an even deeper appreciation for the loveliness of your home as an antidote to the ugliness you saw in your job. That you even HAD the job speaks to your admirable character, but that you have invested so much time in sharing your creativity with us illustrates your strength. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

  20. Sherry@ Ties2ThePast says

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Susan…it's very sad & touching. I appreciate all you share with us on your blog, it's fun, educational, and even therapeutic at times!!

  21. Yeah for you getting out of there -mentally we can only take so much -thank goodness you had such a peaceful environment at home

  22. Congratulations on retiring from a thankless job, Susan.

  23. Of all the possible occupations in the world, this probably would have been one I would never have guessed was yours. I am floored that this is what you did. Not a hint of the horrors you witnessed or were a part of ever crept into your blog! Social workers of any sort spend their lives being exposed to the dark side of this world, trying to help, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not! But all perform very needed services to those who need them. Unrecognized, under-appreciated angels! Congratulations on your commitment over 8 years and celebrate your survival!!

    No wonder your home is so beautiful!

  24. You worked very hard I'm sure to help better other lives and try to make a difference. I can only imagine how frustrating and stressful it is to deal with that daily and just have more of the same day after day….like there is no end, for 8 years! You have given unselfishly of yourself for as long as you could. Now it is time for you! πŸ™‚ I hope every day will be a joy for you. To do things with your life that only creat happiness πŸ™‚

    Jackie πŸ™‚

  25. This is shocking Susan. I see your little pic on the right side and I say she looks so sweet and filled with a heart of mercy. How did you do it? I would have been scared, frustrated, mad and sometimes would have wanted to take some of the victims home with me. So thankful you have been able to be freed from this job. No wonder you like to surround yourself with pretty things, when you've been surrounded with the total opposite. You can say HIS grace has been sufficient.
    Thanks for sharing,

  26. Oh Wow….you are incredible! I grew up wanting to be a "social worker"…what they called it back then! I'm sure your time was well spent there but I totally understand moving on. That would take a TOLL! Bless you for all you did. And here we were thinking you were surrounded on a daily basis with the beautiful things in your blog…Wow…were we wrong! Enjoy your new life! πŸ™‚

  27. Society is so blessed to have strong powerful women such as yourself who are willing to expose themselves to the darker side of life, do what they can, and then go on to spread charm and beauty where they can too. You have done your time…. best of luck with the days ahead!

  28. Blondie's Journal says

    I read this post with tears in my eyes, Susan. What a strong woman you are. I could never have maintained a job like this. Bless you.


  29. Dear Susan,

    I am full of respect for the work you did. Now a new time is coming for you and new callenges are waiting for you. May be you don't know what to do now. But it won't last long until something new will come. Live changes always. And that is good because otherwise we get exhausted or bored. Keep on blogging because this is a nice hobby and it makes positive thoughts. I am sure, God has his own plans with you.
    Wish you a very peaceful and happy time.
    With warmest regards, Johanna

  30. Bless you for all your hard work for all those years. Had a friend in that world and I was one of the silent dumbfounded hearing her stories each day. I was glad to provide a sounding board for her.

    I see how you have such a beautiful creative side that you show to us each day.

  31. Jan's Blog says

    God bless you for your service. It's a hard role to play, and I'm glad nothing more happened than what you have shared. Years ago, living in Ohio, an equivalent to that role was murdered and it broke my heart. I was involved with a program called Compeer (companion/peer) to mentally and psychologically compromised individuals. We too got warnings and training about never letting a client get between you and the door, etc., so I know a small part of what you are talking about. I stayed with the program until my 'compeer' turned (on foot) into oncoming traffic and was killed. I was definitely affected by all this. Again bless you for what you did. I'm glad you have your blog and your creativity to take care of you each everying. God bless you!!!

  32. Susan,
    I was waiting for your to say that you had resigned. It was obvious your blog has really become a success. I have only read it under a year and it has changed a lot. I am so glad you are taking this direction in your life. You are such a gracious and wonderful host each week! I always enjoy visiting. Having worked in the past with a public service job I so understand the atrocities you have seen. You are right to think in your mind that you got out of the job alive. We have a billboard here in the tri-state with a social worker's face on it advertising for any information on her death. She went to the one visit that she didn't come out of alive. I am so happy for you and wish you much success!! BNOTP is awesome.

  33. Thank you for sharing your story. It's a blessing that you made it through the past 8 years without physical harm. I'm sure there were some extremely emotional times…

    I ran across much of what you shared when I was a teacher in the ghetto. I even had a bodyguard during my first year of teaching. Even though there were some wonderful moments with my classes,it was virtually impossible to leave my raw emotions and worries for "my kids" in the classroom at the end of the day. When we moved out of state, I did not return to teaching…

    It's wonderful that you are now able to fill your DAY with beauty. Enjoy!!!
    Jane (artfully graced)

  34. Carollynn @ designGumbo says

    Wow, what an amazing story and so happy to hear that you made it out alive. Thank you for the years you spent caring for others, when most would have given up.

    You are an inspiration.

  35. Congratulations on starting a new chapter of your life. I have been in health care for 20 years and have seen some scary, unbelievable things also. So I will say what most don't, thank you for all you have done and thank you for caring… it has become a very dog eat dog world and it's a shame. Have fun and good luck!

  36. Deb {Confessions of an Ugly Mom} says

    Thank you for your years of service to those who so desperately needed your help, whether they wanted it or not. Now it's time to enjoy the next chapter!

  37. Cindy (Applestone Cottage) says

    Hi Susan,
    I knew you were a social worker and I can relate very well!
    But first, congrats on your new found time at home and making it through all those years!
    I work in child protection as a caseworker. I have been in those homes, and unless you've worked it yourself it is hard to understand.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story!

  38. The Inspired Nest says

    Your story is shocking, scary and brave. People truly have no idea what a bad life really is. I think it really takes a special person to deal with the horror that comes with being a case manager. I have some very dear friends that are foster parents and it breaks my heart to hear the stories that come along with their job. Bless you for making it out alive! Thank you for sharing your story and helping me be thankful for the amazing life that I often take forgranted!

  39. Dining Delight says

    Your job must have been emotionally and physically draining EVERY DAY and for you to come home and start preparing tablescapes and blog posts is amazing! As much as I love 'scaping and blogging, I don't think I would have had the dedication to devote the time and energy you have after putting in time at YOUR "regular job". Thank you for your caring attitude on the job and in your hobby! Hope You enjoy the well deserved rest!


  40. Madigan at madiganmade says

    Thank you for sharing and thank you for the time you did do that challenging job. I cannot even fathom what you faced and felt every day. Bless you and thanks.

    Best wishes on the next phase of your life! I hope it brings you peace and joy.

  41. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    God bless you, Susan! I am glad you made it out alive, too! It would explain why you share such beauty on your blog in your tablescapes, metamorphoses and other posts. I think it probably is needed to counteract all the ugliness you dealt with on a daily basis at work. I don't envy you your job or certain others in theirs {ADA's, social workers, parole officers, etc.}. Many of you deal with the scum of the earth, but I thank God for all of you, because I don't think I could do it.

  42. Thank God for sustaining you those eight years! Congratulations on your new work life, and may you continue to bring beauty and inspiration to your blogging friends.

  43. I so glad you came out alive! That is a very commendable job and one day you will be greatly rewarded, although that is probably not your intention. Congratulations, I'm glad you are here and having some fun. Now you have time to write a book.

  44. I love your blog and check it almost everyday, just in case I might miss something. But your post about your retiremnet was a tear jerker. Thank you for all those to sick, mentally challenged or living in fear to say so. It is people like you who really do make a difference in this world.

    Enjoy your days of blogging and feeling the sunshine on your face.
    You have earned it!!

  45. Ok, have tears in my eyes. What a blessing you have been to so many and what a difference you have made in this world. Thank you for enduring such terrible situations and conditions to help others. Thank you for putting yourself at risk to help others. This was so well written. I was hanging on every word. Exhale…what a weight lifted from your shoulders. Enjoy your quiet time and count your blessings. ((hugs))

  46. The House of Healy says

    I am so happy you made it out alive. Truly. My husband worked as a child protective investigator and didn't last as long as you. You truly had an iron will to do that job, but I'm glad for your safety and general enjoyment of life, that you resigned.


  47. Amazing just amazing – I never would have guessed that was your day job. I have no idea how you lasted 8 years doing that. You are a better person because of it. Glad to hear this story had a happy ending…I was getting worried as I read your post that you were going to share something horrible had happened to you. I have a whole new respect for those who do that.
    Thanks for sharing.

  48. I am glad you got out of that job alive. For, if you had not, I might not have found this blog to follow. πŸ™‚ May your next be a much more peaceful career.

  49. marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says

    Oh my word, I can't imagine doing that kind of work. I think you must be a saint to try and help these people under such terrible situations. God Bless. I am so thrilled you resigned. That is fantastic, and I am sure you feel like a completely new person. Praise the Lord you are alive. Hopefully you can find many more ways to enjoy life now. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Marty

  50. I now truly understand the beauty your blog brings to all of us. Your blog inspires me to set a pretty table and enjoy it.

  51. Nellie's Cozy place says

    Whoa girl, I would have never taken you for a case worker, you are an
    amazing lady!! I mean that from the depths of my heart.
    I had an alcholic parent that could have been on your caseworker load, so I know a bit about what you speak. It was a helpless, hopeless, frustrating, no win situation, no matter what we did. These addictions are horrible horrible things.
    Thank the Lord, He watched over you all these years, God bless you for what you did for these people!!
    You needed to blog and enjoy beauty when you got home, no doubt, cause that can be a depressing dark pit,
    especially when you see it all day every day like that.
    Am so glad you are out of that and hope you really enjoy this new freedom and adventure you are on.
    Thanks for sharing that……..
    amazing story. Again May the Lord bless you for your care and concern for the elderly!!
    Blessings, Nellie

  52. bless your heart…my neighbor does a similiar job very stressful she has all kinds of illness but she gets up everyday and does her job….i couldn't do it i would have killed someone!!! anyways i am sure some of those people appreciated what you did in someway or another and sounds like the state was very lucky to have you….enjoy your now sane life!!!

  53. Susan this is wonderful news. I know you will love this next part of your life. I retired this last year and I am just now allowing myself the time to do NOTHING if I choose. So much busyness in our lives this is now time to relax and be creative and enjoy all of our hard work. So happy for you, hugs Kathysue

  54. Congrats to you! I'm so glad you could take a different path after experiencing human nature at its worst. I hope you enjoy every minute!

  55. Marcy {pine creek cottage} says

    Susan, if I could reach across the miles I would give you a hug. For your dedication and devotion… your caring and patience… your tolerance and compassion. No wonder you create such beauty! And your porch must be a haven – it certainly seems so to me.

    Many blessings on your new course in life. We too are glad you made it!

  56. luluslovlies says

    Hi When I read your post I just found my mouth fall open, that is so awful to deal with and I'm sure it goes on all over, you have done a brave thing keeping that job as long as you did to help those people. If you ever get to my blog and read one of my Pink Saturday post, you will see I am a caregiver of an adult, but he is my son and he is my treasure, it is awful to hear that type of thing exists when I take such good care of him and can't imagine a family member treating there own like that much else some one else, Bless you, I blog as it is my way of connecting with others since I stay at home with him, I take him out of course but I am limited to how far I can easily travel with him. Stop by some time and you will read our journey. It is under a Special Cild post on a Pink Saturday, Hugs to you, Marilou

  57. Susan, thank you for all the great work you have done. I am so happy you have a new occupation and your emotions intact. I can't even imagine doing your old job for a day. God bless you!!

  58. As a child I can recall my Great Grandmother saying, "to be an Angel, we need not have wings".

    As an adult I have learned it is people like yourself dear Susan, who validate such a belief as the work you did was truly humanitarian inspiring.

    With best wishes and many hugs.

  59. Sally Hamilton says

    I kept reading thinking you were going to say "Happy Halloween" or something like that … I don't konw what to say except that there is a special place in heaven for people who perform social service type of work. And now, you deserve this life of peace, beauty and creativity.

  60. I am sure you have made a huge impact on many lives, Susan. Gratefully, you are fine. It had to be very rewarding for you in many aspects.

    You are such a wonderful gal, I so enjoy you. Enjoy your 'retirement'.

    Happy PS weekend ~
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  61. Wow .. you need a long vacation. You really ought to write a book about your adventures.

  62. Glenda/MidSouth says

    I remember reading in one of your posts some time ago, what kind of work you did, but I guess I did not realize you had such a "hands on" job situation. I realize someone has to do it, but I am pretty sure I could never have held a job like that. You are a stronger/braver person than myself. Thank God for watching over you and keeping you safe. Enjoy this much quieter/peaceful time in your life.
    Have a great weekend.

  63. Hello Susan,
    Bless your heart for doing such work! Unfortunately, it is very needed in this world. I am glad they had you. With that said, I am glad you're free now to do what you do so well.
    God Bless you,

  64. Thank you for giving 8 years to such a difficult and under recognized job. I'm sure you must wake up each morning now not having to worry about what you may be facing that day. Enjoy your new life!

  65. mudpies and marigolds says

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and important part of your life with us. It makes me appreciate your wonderful work on this blog even more. Thank you!

  66. Red Couch Recipes says

    Congratulations!I can't imagine a job like that! I am sure there is a big hole because you are gone. Joni

  67. Wow. I'm thankful that despite what you did for a living you've been able to see beauty in life and to take the time to share it with us. No doubt it has sometime been the only beauty some have seen in their day. I know it always put a smile on my face. God bless.

  68. Susan,
    It's so strange to hear about your "other life" because here in blogland, you seem so relaxed, unstressed, and completely "together." I can't even imagine how you've done it over the years. I guess blogging was an "out" for you, a chance to be in control of something after a long day of surprises, heartache, and sadness.
    Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. Happy that you are alive, happy that you've closed that chapter of your life! Now you can jump whole-heartily into chapter two! You've really got something great going here with BNOTP. You've been working diligently to grow and prosper. GOOD FOR YOU!

    On a sidenote, I want to thank you for being such an inspiration. I found you about a year ago on Rate My Space. I fell in love with your porch and began looking around your blog and blogland. I visited many for a while and then decided that I wanted to join in on the fun. I haven't looked back since. You were my inspiration. You helped me get through a tough situation. You helped me find a hobby that releases a lot of tension from my life. So, my dear blogland friend, thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Sincerely, Sharlotte

  69. Suzanne@thriftstoredecorjunky says

    Powerful post. Thanks for sharing. I realize I lead a very protective , and fortunate life…

  70. Cabin and Cottage says

    Holy cow Susan, I am so happy for you! One cannot even imagine the actual horrors of the experience, while being shocked by merely a cursory and incomplete retelling. I am so happy you are free of years of that. I'm in awe of your accomplishment here on the net. I completely understand what blogging brought to you by seeing what blogging does for ME by way of positive creative release from my own small burdens. And your blog has been part of that very blessing I am talking about. Thank you, thank you so much for all you have endured, and for still providing so much joy for the rest of us! I am so touched by what you have shared. Sincerely, Jacqueline

  71. Congratulations, Susan! What an accomplishment! So nice to be home. I know exactly what you mean when you described your job. My sister used to do the same thing and she is now retired too. Enjoy your retirement!…Christine

  72. When I started reading your blog and read what you did, I was stunned. Stunned by the beauty of your home and the ugliness you must deal within that job, impressed by the courage it must take to do that. I know you made a difference but I look at hospice work and animal rescue work and feel the same way. People who do that are angels and have something in them I don't. I cannot imagine the burnout form being in a job like that. I hope you enjoy yourself now that you are moving on and that you reap the rewards of having done your part to make the world a better place.
    Just don't resign from blogging!

  73. Blessings to you and enjoy your time. I hope more will follow in your footsteps! Takes a good person.

  74. No doubt you needed your blog and all the loveliness therein to counteract the ugliness you were seeing every day. I applaud you for lasting as long in that job as you did. They were extremely lucky to have you, and I hope they were aware of it.

  75. Oh my goodness. Thank you for sharing your story. I think we here in blogland live sheltered lives where everything is pretty & everyone is so nice. It's easy to forget about the real world out there. I know in my heart that even in your darkest times you surely must have been a beacon of hope to at least a few.

  76. Congratulations! So happy for you! Now more time to write your wonderful blog!!

  77. Well, your title certainly caught my attention! Having watched Hoarders, I am amazed at the patience and gentleness that the APS representatives give the people who are in jeopardy. I know you helped many, many people and your words of hope brought encouragement to family members. I'm so happy that you now have peaceful days ahead!

  78. I am so glad you shared this. So many people see blogs with beautiful pictures and quickly assume the person is superficial. I think blogging offers a perfect balance and inspires us all to dream more in the midst of other responsibilities and struggles which others don't always see. I am glad you were able to stay safe through it all. Enjoy this new season.

  79. Well, your title certainly caught my attention! Having watched Hoarders, I am amazed at the patience and gentleness that the APS representatives give the people who are in jeopardy. I know you helped many, many people and your words of hope brought encouragement to family members. I'm so happy that you now have peaceful days ahead!

  80. Chatty Crone says

    I had no idea you would give them a 4 week notice! Whew. You deserve a break today!

    Good luck and best wishes and hugs and prayers to your new life.


  81. Julia @ Hooked on Houses says

    Holy cow, Susan. My jaw was on my keyboard as I read your stories. You had told me a little about what you did before, but I had no idea it was so dangerous and difficult. My admiration for you has grown even more knowing how courageous you are. I would not have lasted a day in that job, let alone all those years.

    I'm so happy for you that you're able to leave all that behind! Congratulations–and I wish you all the best in this exciting new chapter of your life.

  82. Life with L says

    A sincere Thank you and contgrats for working such an unappreciated job. I am sure you have touched many lives in your line of work. You deserve so much credit!
    It takes a special person to do that work. Enjoy your retirement and breathe alittle easier because you are home safe and I am sure you have helped many others to be safe as well. Smile and blog away…Linda

  83. Susan, I was totally taken aback by your post. I often wondered what you did and how you managed to keep this beautiful blog alive. Now I know and I praise you for working in horrific conditions and helping people who are devoid of helping themselves.
    I could never have done that and the fact that you did it for eight years, shows such strength of character.
    I now know why you are drawn to the beauty of your tablescapes, it is a way to balance the less than beautiful things in your life.
    Good for you to finally be able to say "that is enough".
    Your blog is so lovely and I have been following it for a long time even though you tempt me to buy more china!! πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your respite Susan.

  84. WOW!….who knew?….glad your home,I love not working!…your life will be so much more enjoyable,just doing what you want to do.Have a great weekend.

  85. Susan, I want to say thank you for what you have done through the years. I know it's not been an easy life but you have been there, watching out for people who couldn't do it themselves – and that means much! I am a chaplain in nursing homes and with the elderly in a number of settings. I know firsthand, in a different way than your experience, how vulnerable they are and how many times abuse is present. I'm so glad you have made the big change. Enjoy your time and keep following your passions. We love what you share from your heart.

  86. The Country Nest says

    Hi Susan,
    What a great post. It took a lot to share such personal info. I thought you worked in a law office, (I don't know why, just an impression) What a burden to carry around. I can see why your beautiful home would be such a comfort to come home to! Congratulations on your change.

  87. Thanks for sharing!! I work as a home health physical therapist and have encountered a small bit of what you have. If you didn't see it with your own eyes, you wouldn't believe it. Hope you are enjoying your new life!!

  88. Oh, Dear Susan! Praise God for you and your caring heart and He has protected you for many years and I'm so thankful now you can leave this! I have thought of you many times when I've seen news stories and wondered if this was some of what you did. Oh, I can't imagine. You have been a jewel to these poor ones! Take a long soak and a big ole deep breath!! Welcome home, dear one.
    You are a sweetie,
    Shelia πŸ™‚

  89. Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish says

    Susan – hugs for you!!! That is brave work that someone in our world has to do. Sometimes the stress in our day jobs causes us to focus on creating the calm at home! Bless you and thank you!!

  90. Absolutely incredible! I have always thought God created certain people to preform certain jobs …. God must really love and trust you!

  91. Terri at Finder's Keeper's says

    You have done more than your fair share and my heart goes out to you. Enjoy the peace and quiet as you immerse yourself in the good side of life on this planet.

  92. Susan, I wish you a very happy next chapter. Knowing what came before it can only make the next one so sweet.
    Best of luck to you!

  93. So glad you were able to make the decision to leave and were able to do it without having been physically harmed, though I'm sure you have experience much emotional stress. I am a coder and our hospital services some difficult areas. I have only had to read providers' notes about the things you have actually experienced.

    Congratulations on your career "move" but I am sure that the help that your were able to give made a difference to many people. It's sad that there are people whose lives have taken these destructive turns.

    Enjoy your new-found freedom!!


  94. Kathy's Red Door Welcome says

    That's absolutely incredible. You deserve a rest!

  95. You found some balance with your beautiful posts, but omg, what a balance! I am shocked you have been able to do this. But, also proud for you and of you to share your beauty and to share your story. I am glad God has been able to protect you.
    This break might just find you in something similar because you have survived!
    Time to figure out your next chapter!

  96. I really have no words after that except to say I'm so glad you could retire. I'm sure it's like this everywhere, and what a shame that our country lets these situations go on and on.


  97. Susan, hello, it's Carol, I am so happy that you are gone from that job! I know someone has to do it but sheesh! enjoy the serenity you now have. God bless you girl, now go and do what you do to those tables… lol

    Designs for You

  98. Wow, Susan, no wonder you the other side of your life is so filled with beautiful things! It does take a special person to deal with those issues. It's funny you would post this today because we are trying at our church desperately to reach out to people exactly like you have described. However, we are finding that we are not trained or equipped to deal with the issues that come up. I was telling a fellow staff member today that we need someone exactly like you who has the experience, but is no longer doing that job to help us and the people we deal with. I'm sure you have touched many lives, and you will continue to no matter what you are doing:-)

  99. Duchess of Lanier says

    I am staring with my mouth open. Wow. And shaking my head.

    There is nothing I could say to express my respect for what you have done to try to help people. You must know you have made a difference for some, and those make the rest worth it.

    Thank you for sharing your joy and insight and for going where others were not able to go.

  100. Chic Creations says

    Wow! What a story. . . I am so glad you are doing the things in your life that you love and you are not in danger. Happy beginnings for you. I love your blog and visit every day. Thanks for sharing an amazing story. God bless you.

  101. SavannahGranny says

    Susan, I am so proud of you, not that that is important to anyone, but I am. Your beauty of mind and spirit comes across in your blog and I never dreamed what you experienced during the day.

    I do, however, understand how you could come home and immerse yourself in this blog and tablescaping. It was an escape from that other world. You were able to enter a world where everyone was kind to one another, encouraged one another and somehow entered into utopia. This world helped you retain your sanity.

    How do I know this? I have a precious daughter who does this same thing, except with children as her clients. I wanted to cry as you were telling your experiences. I knew your dedication was strong but I also understood about the fears you often experienced. I have heard my sweet daughter tell about the lice, food on the floor (placed there by the caregiver) for the children to eat, and much, much worse. I need not go on. You know the drill all too well

    I said that to say this, I love you. I love your precious spirit that reached out for all those years to help others. That same sweet spirit has been felt by all your fellow bloggers and followers. Welcome home sweet lady. We may not be utopia but we are real people and we love you. We rejoice that you "got out alive".

    A new day and a new dawning. The best is yet to come. Many cliches can be used but I hope that you are blessed beyond measure. You deserve it.

    Your friend, Ginger
    My email is available on my profile.

  102. Melanie {The Tiny Tudor} says

    What courage it must take to do that work. I admire you for your years of service and wish you the best of luck on your new path!

  103. What a blessing to leave your very stressful job and to focus on creating and sharing beauty with all of us! Thank you for all you have done the last 8 years for 'the last, the least, the lost and the little'…now it's time to ENJOY every day … ALL day! SusanP

  104. Barbara Anne says

    Holy Toledo!

    As a city ER nurse I can just imagine whereof you speak because the police and EMTs told much of what they'd seen when picking up our patients.

    Thanks for trying to make things better for folks and for keeping at it for so many years.

    Wishing you happy days at home among your lovely things, surrounded by peace, quiet, tranquility, family, and friends, near and far, in real life and your visitors here.


  105. Patty's Stitches says

    Wow! I don't know how people do those jobs day in and day out. I worked a short time for GA Child Support Recovery many years ago. I couldn't take it. Ended up going back to the Dept. of Labor working for an Adm. Hearing Office. A little easier to swallow on a daily basis. YOU DESERVE A NAP ON THE PORCH! Glad more pleasant days are ahead for you. πŸ˜‰

  106. The Polka Dot Closet says

    That was interesting, I was not surprised by what you do as i have a friend that does the same here in FLorida. She hates her job, it seems so many people do now a days. I quit working in pharmaceutical sales 18 months ago, I hated everyday of my job, i am not retired either, i am just having the time of my life too. Antiques booth, online store, and blog. I put wall words up in my office the first week I quit working. It says "Joy is excitement for the dawn of each new day and wishing that day would never end" Isn't this fun!!!


  107. WOW! You really weren't kidding when you said you made it out alive. I'm so happy for you! Congrats on making it and congrats on your new found freedom. God Bless You! πŸ™‚

  108. Wow. What a stressful job that must have been. I'm sure you have the cases where you feel like you made a contribution to society, but it must have been hard to remember those when you see so much squalor and disregard for basic human needs. Blessings to you for putting your soul into this for so many years. I'm sure your lovely home was your true sanctuary in this time. I'm glad you can spend your time in the pursuit of what makes you happy.

  109. Sue (Someone's Mom) says

    I have a friend who is a caseworker in the Chicago area for children 3 and under. Her stories while different, can be very frightening. I will say to you what I've said to her…I don't know how you do it, yet I respect you so much that you are willing to do so.

    I didn't go back to work when we moved here 7 years ago. I had several reasons. People ask if I'm retired and I always say no, I'm not. I'm just not working away from my house anymore. It was an adjustment. At first I loved the freedom, then winter hit and I was a bit stir crazy…but, I've adapted quite well. I can't imagine having set hours to "be somewhere" anymore. Enjoy!

  110. Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick says

    CONGRATS SUSAN!!! Welcome to No More Mondays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

  111. Wow Susan…congratulations on your next adventure πŸ˜‰ I left the corporate world almost two years ago when we had a corp. take-over and were downsized/out-sourced. It was the best day for me and I had such a sense of relief when I drove home that evening…smiled all the way. For seven years I held a job as a Controller and it was so stressful working within a company that grew extremely fast and then was sold twice and the corp. offices moved 5 times in 7 years…ugh! But life happens and you have obligations, etc. and you talk yourself into staying where you are at. We knew that a big change was coming and when it hit, my husband and I were prepared for the reprecussions…which there were many and it VASTLY effected our life as we knew it! BUT it has been so worth it…every bit of it. Best of luck to you as always and I'll be thinking and praying for you. Fondly, Roberta

  112. Who would have thunk it! Woo Hoo! Yea for you. I know what it is like to work in a dangerous position. I did it for 25 years. I was never soooh glad to walk away from it too. And I never looked back! That was a whole other life. Welcome to a different life! A happier life.~Ames

  113. Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door says

    Thank you for sharing this post. What you have been through we really cannot comprehend. Thank your for your time of service. ENJOY, ENJOY this new chapter of your life.
    As I read your post I kept thinking what a haven your beautiful home must of been for you each and every day as you arrived home from work. I know you'll enjoy it even more now.

  114. Mary in AR says

    My dad was also an APS CM in Louisiana for 35 years. He had lots of stories too, but only shared a few with his family. It takes a special person to do that job.

    Here's to the next, more positive, chapter in your life!

  115. Susan, this is exciting news! I'm so happy for you. I know you are going to enjoy this new chapter in your life. You are one talented and creative lady, and there is no doubt that you are going to be very successful with this new venture. All the best to you, dear friend! ~ sarah

  116. I so know how you feel. I retired from teaching in public schools two years ago. I was so exhausted and had seen my share of mistreated, abused or neglected children. I admire you for what you did. One of my best friends used to work for Child Protective Service and she could tell the stories too. Enjoy your time off and fight the guilt. I do almost daily but then I remind myself, "I worked very hard for thirty years. If I take it easy for a few years then I have earned it." Same goes for you, you have earned some peace and happiness.

  117. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says

    What an amazing post Susan! It takes a special person to do the job you did for so many years. I am so happy that you have begun a new chapter in your life. Time for you to relax, enjoy and be peaceful!

  118. The Pennington Point says

    I had no idea that you did that. I guess we all have sides that our blog readers don't know about, but this one is a doozy!

    I hope you find a place of peace, rest, and caring. Blessings to you! This post adds a depth to your personality that we didn't know about and just makes reading your blog even better. Thanks for sharing! Lisa~

  119. ...All Things Refined says

    I'm blown away, tears in my eyes, gratitude in my heart. Thank you for all you've done over the past years – you made a difference in the lives of many.
    I adore your blog and now I adore you even more!
    Love and blessings, Joy

  120. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    Oh my gosh Susan, this is amazing! I knew you were a sharp gal but I had no idea just how much courage you have! I am still just sitting here at my silly little laptop, in my simple little life reeling from this unbelievable story! Most of all, I admire your strength in putting yourself first in life and knowing you have done your part to help where and when you could. You have done your time my friend!

    Many blessing to you in whatever you do…and remember God holds a special place in heaven for angels like you…

  121. Congratulations on your resignation! Having a stressful job can do things to your mind and body that is hard to explain unless you have been there.
    Wishing you all the best for your next stress-free adventure!

  122. says

    Oh my goodness.. Praise God that you survived, and were I am sure able to help people, and that you are done! You deserve an amazing retirement! Thank you for sharing that part of your life with us, it makes us appreciate you even more.

  123. As you can see from ALL these many comments, you certainly struck a nerve in all of us. I sat here and read this in awe. How in the world could you (or anyone) have survived all this? But at the same time I was also thinking that society is fortunate to have people like you who are willing to "do the dirty work" that most of us wouldn't dare begin to undertake. It's so sad the times we are living in, but you have done your part (and more) to make them better. Enjoy your much-earned rest and relaxation. And thank you for all you have done to make the world a better place.

  124. I don't know what more I can add after all the other 121 comments! I share everyone's sentiments and I hope now you can relax, enjoy life and continue to entertain and teach us "between naps on the porch" on your blog!! Take care,many thanks for the help you have given me even though you had such a tough job. Enjoy your early retirement, I retired aged 49 and it was best thing I did for health and family.
    Love Jackie in Surrey, UK.x

  125. forever lost says

    wow no wonder you needed naps on the porch! what a life, and how clueless the general public is about drugs and standard of living for so many~ Having had the prescription druggies in my own life I am not surprised, my son and my sister~ one recovered one is what I call a "functioning, managed druggie".
    I am in GA as well! and any time you decide you will take an apprentice shopping well I am available and very healthy! (kids may disagree LOL)

  126. Congratulations for surviving! As you know I am so VERY happy for you! I had a doozy of a case Thursday and totally thought, "man, Susan doesn't have to do this anymore!" LOL!

    You are my inspiration girl!

    From Virginia

  127. Aunt Amelia's Attic says

    Oh my Dear, I am speechless. Living such a job, and still having the sweet Icon picture, which you do. How unlike-total-life, can Icon pictures be.

    But I'm so happy that you have finally made your Icon pic represent your whole life. I don't see how you held that position, for as long as you did.

    Gentle hugs…

  128. Sailing Simply says

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have done some volunteer work a few years back that took me to some very scary places. I couldn't do that for long, so I do understand your relief to be finished with that aspect of the job. I grew up with a mother who worked as a psychologist in the hospital and have heard some of the sad stories there too. I am even more amazed of how you have been spending your extra time decompressing with tablescaping and blogging and writing. I think your old "work side" really needed the new "creative side" and I am so glad you allowed that other side to emerge. Good for you, and congrats on retiring! Good job, well done!

  129. Debbie (Meadowcrest Cottage) says

    Dear Susan, All the previous comments say how I feel also. You are amazing. Maybe you should consider flying again and finishing up your pilot certificate. Flying is MY greatest therapy, and you would be a great asset to the Ninety-nines!!

  130. It's very inspiring to see how your strong spirit was still able to see the extraordinary beauty in life — and we all love how you express that through your wonderful blog.
    God bless you, Susan,
    Judith Ann

  131. Thank God you have both survived and resigned. There is only so much of oneself to give, and you have given a great deal. Surround yourself with beauty and gentle people, and rediscover yourself.
    God bless xx

  132. There is not much I can add but I do want to add my thanks for all you did to help people who are desperately in need, even though many times they did not want it.

    Enjoy! I am sure you appreciate life in a way most of us can't understand. I pray all your days are safe and beautiful.

  133. Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) says

    WOW! What great news for you — Congratulations on your escape! Now you can relax and finally feel safe and sound and know that you did a very worthwhile job all of these years assisting a great many people. Now it's "Susan" time! Enjoy all the beautiful and happy days ahead, my dear!
    Best regards and happiness,

  134. Bless you for touching lives that might otherwise never be touched, and for reminding us there remains much touching and work to be done. Enjoy the more relaxed days of this next phase of your life!

  135. WOW! I thank God that He looked after you and protected you all those years! And I celebrate your new life. Thank you for the personal sacrifices you made in order to do a GOOD job for your charges. And now, lots of time to relax and enjoy the life you have created for yourself. If you DO write that book, no doubt it will fly off the shelves. God bless!

  136. Susan, Such a tremendous outpouring! You really deserve praise. You also have totally earned your respite! I too am in awe of how you came to this blog day after day and presented such beautiful posts when your days were filled with mostly anything but beautiful. May God bless you all the rest of your days with peace and an understanding that You made a difference in this world we live in….over and over again!

    p.s. I just know that you are now going to become a world famous author, right? You had me mesmerized;)

  137. You are my hero and next to a saint! You have given so much to so many. Guess I'm not going to complain to you about ANYTHING today. ENJOY your "new" life! franki

  138. Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures says

    First I want to thank you for your linky parties that I love to link to. Second, thank you for doing such a hard job for all of those years. My life has been full of dysfucntion. Things a child should never have to deal with or remember. My adult life is great because I am in control and I make good choices. As an adult my mom did die from suicide and I know how difficult it is. I can only imagine the toll it took on you to deal with so much dysfuction year after year. Enjoy your "retirement". You dieserve it!

  139. Never in a thousand years could I do what you just did – you have my total R.E.S.P.E.C.T!!! Hopefully all those awful situations and images will fade over time and be replaced by pure joy.

  140. Carol at Serendipity says


    Congratulations on your retirement. Years ago, I was a social worker for a school system in Connecticut. Nothing like what you dealt with but some potentially scary situations.

    Enjoy the beauty and the grace of your blogging. Your blog has been an inspiration to many of us.


  141. Wow! Unbelievable you could get up every morning and be excited to go to work. I have always wondered what drives people like yourself to continue this type of work. Good for you to resign and pursue avenues that STILL impact others in a very positive and creative way. Congratulations to you!!

  142. I don't know how you managed to hold on this long to such a stressful and dangerous job. You cerainly deserve to have more beautiful and relaxing surroundings in which to work. Thanks for such an interesting and creative blog.

  143. All I can say is God bless you for doing what you did and providing a wonderful service to those in need. Now it's your time and you deserve it. Enjoy!!

  144. ~Country Lady~ says

    As a person of Faith, I believe we all aspire to hear our Maker say on that final day to us: "Well done my loyal and faithful servant!" Sweet lady… you have earned the right to hear that! To have given of yourself so unselfishly is a tribute to the character and integrity that you obviously possess. Your home and surroundings are absolutely beautiful, but I have just learned that the creator of this beautiful space has an even more beautiful heart who gave to others in an effort to make their lives more bearable. Wishing you many years of peace and joy! Blessings.

  145. Wow! This just goes to show that you really don't know people. How brave you were to work that job. Thank you for sharing that part of your life with us and congratulations on your newfound retirement! I've been a follower of your blog since I first discovered it and have so enjoyed your posts and your special events. Sometimes you think your blogging isn't appreciated but yours is one of the most popular on the web. Please enjoy your extra time! Peggy from PA

  146. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says

    Susan, I have so much respect for you and the job you endured for eight years. I can only imagine the stress you were under. A friend of mine was a case worker and was pushed down a flight of stairs while seven months pregnate. Luckily she and baby survived. Take care.
    xo, Sherry

  147. Congratulations! You made it out alive and sane. I have a total appreciation for you and the work that you do ( I mean did!!). I have taught in the public school systems for 10 years and seen children who are in circumstances that I wouldn't even place my worst enemy. Social workers have a thankless job, but you are helping out those people in more ways than they may ever know. Thanks for all you do. I am so happy for you to have that gone now. What a relief!

  148. Oh. My. Goodness. Thank you, Susan, for giving so much of your life energy to what I am sure must have felt like a futile pursuit at times. I'm so happy that you get to spend your time now in MUCH happier pursuits. Your blog has always been an inspiration, but now I really appreciate the effort behind every post. Thank you for sharing your story.

  149. First of all a HUGE thank you for doing the work that so many could or would not do and is so DESPERATLY needed!!!! I am so grateful that there are women and men like you who are willing to get into the trenches. Thank God you have come out OK. I know that whatever you do now will also be a HUGE success! You have the midas touch!. God bless you, you are such an inspiration to so many! XO, Pinky

  150. Congratulations Susan!! If you could do all that you do with your home and blog WHILE having such a stressful job, I can't imagine what you'll do now! πŸ™‚ Good luck to you!

  151. Green Gracie Home says

    Oh, my goodness! Congrats on your metamorphosis…I am glad to hear you are enjoying your creative time.

  152. Dear Susan,
    Congratulations on your retirement.
    You are blessed having done that work and not been injured or succumbed from the stress of it.
    May you be inspired to write whatever you desire and to enrich your life seeing the beauty in each day.
    I will continue to follow you and take in the lovely pictures and words you share with your followers. Thank you for the inspiration! Carolyn from NC

  153. Vintagesouthernlife says

    I just want to say thank you for all that you did for those that could not or would not express their thanks.It takes a very special person with a strong will and a big ole' heart to take that on day after day.
    Having taught the disabled for 30+ years I saw a tip of the iceberg and was always amazed at those of you who had to follow them into their home.
    I thank God for protecting you and getting you out alive and wish you much happiness,and peace on the next chapter of your life.

    God bless you, Annette

  154. Susan, I've discovered your blog only recently, and absolutely adore it πŸ™‚
    As per your post, I think what not kill us, will make us stronger. I think you appreciate your private life so much more, as is so different from your professional one. You can be only proud of yourself. Thank you of sharing bit of your live with us πŸ™‚

  155. Hi Susan, Wow…your story is so powerful. What a daunting job. You look like the sweetest, kindest person in the world to be doing such a dangerous, frightening job so well for so long. Thank Our Father in Heaven that He kept you safe. Your home was your beautiful and peaceful haven from your turmoil filled work life. I'm glad you're enjoying your "retirement". You are so brave and I admire and respect your courage. You deserve the peace and quiet.

  156. Sending you a hug from one Susan to another you did good giving of your self to help others that needed it even thought that probably sometimes didn't want it….and now it's your time
    Hugs from across the pond

  157. MahSistersQuiltTrunk says

    I so understand. My wish for you is that you enjoy retirement as much as I do. Sitting on my proch and thinking of you sitting on yours. We are so Blessed.

  158. Kim @ Savvy Southern Style says

    Wow, Susan I don't know how you worked like that for that long. You must be very strong. Isn't it wonderful not having to get up and go do that anymore. I left my job ten years ago. Wasn't an ugly job like yours, but it was still a job I didn't care for. It is hard to work when you aren't happy.

  159. Tales From My Empty Nest says

    Susan, you need 10 gold stars in your crown for sure! I am just speechless. What a horrible job!!! I thank God that you were able to quit and that you can now stay home and enjoy doing what you want to. It is terrible that people have to do jobs like that and so sad that people actually live that way. Enjoy your new life!!! Love & blessings from NC!

  160. Susan!

    I should have commented earlier, I was a child protective service case worker, for a very SHORT amount of time and I knew what you were up against. I am so glad you have gotten your blog up to where you can work with it and get out of the system…Thanks for sharing, it is no surprise that you create such a beautiful surrounding for yourself at your lovely home. Maybe now you will be able to share more with us about how you do it…
    Love and hugs,

  161. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Just remember what a difference you made in the lives of so many people! What a gift! … Now, take a deep breath and enjoy the wonderful new path ahead of you. You never know exactly where it will lead, but it will surely be fun finding out!

  162. Hi Susan,
    I just read your story,about working as a case worker for the state. I worked for 22 years, for the state in Psychiatric Nursing, on a Forensic unit. I made the same statement when I finally decided I could not do it anymore. I made it out alive. I was spat on, kicked, hit, called everything, but a child of God. Mostly by patients coming in that had been off their medication. People think , because there are on site Security officers that you are safe. Think again. I have had heavy objects thrown at me and barely miss my head. Events sometimes unfolding too quickly to get someone there to help before an injury occured. Unpredictability would be the main word I would use to describe every day I went to work.
    I had friends who were doing the same thing you were doing.I had a friend who was stabbed to death in a client's home. His job was to check to see if they were taking their medication.
    Two days after I quit,opting for early retirement and less money, a co-worker had his jaw broken by a patient. The patient was angry because he wouldn't break the smoking rules and take him out immediately to smoke. There was not enough staff for him to one to one him for a special smoke break. (Many of our patient's came from prison and didn't care who they hurt)
    So,know when I say, I understand what you have been through and I am truly glad you left the job. It isn't worth your life, or being maimed.
    I can now get up in the morning and truly enjoy facing the day.

  163. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says

    Oh my gosh. I don't even know what to say. I don't know how people do jobs like that, I really don't. Thanks for sharing your story. There are some really sad situations. Thankfully there are people like you who care and do these jobs.

  164. Lady Katherine says

    So happy for you! I know your new adventure is, and will be wonderful for you! I am glad your out,FREE and doing something you love and so talented at! PS Insurance Company going to cover everything for our new adventure! Yeah! Tell more later!

  165. Modern Country Lady says

    How brave you have been, and I am glad you have now reached a more peaceful stage in your life.Thank you for sharing this with us- brought a tear to my eye.
    Love your blog!!Just go onwards and upwards!!

  166. Good for you for retiring. I operated skilled nursing facilities for my career and went through the same things, believe or not! It's tough out there. We need a beautiful release and no one can do it for very long. Woohoo, you will love retirement – trust me.

  167. Honey, you deserve a medal!

  168. WHOA Susan!
    I havent read all the comments but knowing how you use your creativity to balance out your working mode with your profession is amazing. Your right and left brain are insync. Now its time to give yourself peace, take care of you. It takes a special person to do what you have done.

    We think life complex and discouraging enough until we read a story you shared.

    Bless you my child. The State of Georgia lost a valuable employee and so did those in need. Something needs to change…America is so worried & wrapped in in the wrong elements of life about their own party's needs, other countires and turn a blind eye on our own soil. Absolutely wrong politically and socially.

    Cyn's Beach House

  169. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for all you have done the past 8 years. As citizens who depend on caring people like you there are not enough words to express our appreciation. We don't fund or staff these agencies nearly the way we should and the result is so sad. I truly can't imagine what your days were like but I can completely understand wanting to create a blog that was the opposite of what your daily world was like. What a fun escape to think about beautiful dishes, lovely rooms, and redecorating. You are amazing in so many ways. Enjoy your new life and again, thank you for your years.

  170. Thank you for being the one that "would"…you are one of God's Angels and you will be rewarded in heaven some day. God Bless you! Pamie G.

  171. Dear Susan,
    I had goosebumps & chills went down my spine as I read all that you have had to endure while working for the state. It breaks my heart to know that such conditions exist here in the United States & that there isn't much any of us can do about it. You gave your soul to this agency for 8 years & thank God you did survive it. I'm sure it will take time to decompress. I remember feeling the same way when I stopped working in the Surgical ICU unit. Every day had been some sort of crisis & many times I cried all the way home. When I left that department, I was amazed to find laughter & joy in other areas. You can only do that (and YOUR) kind of work for so long before it hurts your, mentally & physically.
    I hope that you are able to relax & recharge & spend your days in beautiful surroundings, sharing your wonderfully creative side with the world.

    Mega Hugs,

  172. The Tablescaper says

    Wow! Thank you for giving of yourself to help our society. It's so sad to know the state so many are in. So lucky for us to have someone like you who braved through it for so many years.

    Congratulations on you life change. Enjoy! I'm sure it will be a wonderful experience! Lucky us, we get to enjoy all of your extra time for creativity!

    – The Tablescaper

  173. Congratulations on retiring. You lasted 7 years and 11 months longer than I would working for Adult Protection Services. You're to be commended for being willing to help folks regardless of their condition. All the best to you on your next endeavor(s).


  174. Thank you for the beauty you shared while spending so much time in a chaotic profession. Home was truly a sanctuary!! I cannot imagine two more different environments in one's daily life. God bless –

  175. Christin@Pregnant with power tools says

    I'm glad you shared. You are a real person with a real life and challenges. We want to be supportive – we love your blog and you are a friend πŸ˜‰

  176. I bet this is a record breaking number of comments on any blog and there will be more I am sure.

    Susan, I have admired you so much for all the aspects of your blog. I was so excited about two years ago to discover your blog! For me, it was a respite from my world to another one full of fun ideas, beauty and creativity and learning about technology. You continued to inspire me with all the above. I've wondered how you have week after week continued to meet the blog schedule. We all know how demanding everyday life is. Now, I know how extremely hard your other life was! As others have expressed you made a huge difference, I would not have lasted one week. I admired you very much before now I am in complete awe of your courage and dedication. I am glad you had the courage now to leave. You deserve the peace and security your new schedule will allow. I know you will continue to contribute to others in a myriad of ways that does not put you in danger.

  177. Susan, I'm so glad you are safe and happy today.

  178. WOW…that is something else! So happy for you and your next chapter in life. Very heartfelt, and scary at the thought each day. Glad you made it too!!~

  179. Marilyn Holeman says

    Wow, Susan! That was a powerful post. I just want to say thank you and God bless you for the service you have provided. Congratulations on a job well done.

    And I know I'm comment #180–so please don't feel that you need to respond to me!

  180. I am trained to do the very job that you described. My area was children that had been abused/neglected who were now in a group home. I was only able to do it for a little while— it broke my heart.

    Burnout is huge in the area of health and family services.

    Hugs to you!!

  181. Susan, I'm sure none of us can begin to imagine the horrors that you've seen. I'm so very glad you made it out of that job with your sanity and physical being still intact. Bless you for helping those who you could. You're my hero….

  182. Kelly @ JAX does design says

    Oh, wow, Susan – I can't believe you stuck with that job for 8 years. I can't imagine the things you've seen and the scary situations you found yourself if in. You're an incredibly strong and devoted woman.

    Enjoy your retirement from your job as a Case Manager, and I hope every day is now filled with beautiful things.


  183. lvroftiques says

    Yahooo!!!! Hi five sister!! *slap* I'm so happy for you!
    God bless you for putting in all those hard years. It takes a very special STRONG person to handle that job. I have no doubt that many owe their lives to you.
    But I'm so glad to hear you're moving on to the next exciting chapter of your life. You deserve it. Love Vanna….PS that bug thing would have done me in on the spot! *heebie jeebie shiver*!

  184. Shari @ My Cottage of Bliss says

    Susan, I am familiar with the unpleasant types of things you had to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Not first hand, as I don't have what it takes do that type of job, but I've heard countless similar stories from my husband. He sees the same things in his job with the State of Florida. He investigates and arrests those individuals who are doing the abusing, neglecting and exploiting of the elderly and disabled. The only difference is, as a sworn law enforcement officer, he is able to carry a gun for protection in those dicy situations.

    I completely understand and empathize with the toll it can take on your psyche. It's definitely not a job for the faint of heart. So glad you were able to resign and are now enjoying your time at home.

  185. MamaBear91 says

    Praise God for the work you have been doing for 8 years, Susan. You are a strong woman, and an inspiration. I admire your willingness to open up with your readers about your life. I have enjoyed your blog and the lovely things you share. Now, I truly admire your spirit and courage.

    Many blessings,


  186. So happy for you:) Congrats!

  187. Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea says

    Thank you so very much for sharing a very personal part of your life with us. I'm so truly happy for you that you can work from home now and enjoy the freedom which it brings.

    Bless you for the wonderful job you did to assist others under extremely difficult circumstances – you are a true hero in my eyes!

    Much love to you and I wish you success on your newest journey.

  188. Griffith Family says

    Wow- that was not exactly how I thought you had been spending your days! But, I am grateful you have been. I'm a southern girl from a traditional and gratefully boring southern family who married a great man from NY who was the only one in his family to leave NY. I know why. His Sister found a man, much like those you used to spend your days with, great material to father her sons with. People like you kept her from being murdered and her sons alive. Thank you for investing 8 years of your life in making a difference in the lives of those who need great protection usually from themselves. I'm glad you were able to compartmentalize it and enjoy the beautiful things of life and make this blog. It too has helped others to see the beauty in this life. Congratulations on your retirement.

  189. I am totally in awe of anyone that dedicates themselves to helping others survive this world's underground of dispair.
    Thank you for your time and effort (not to mention love). For it is the love of our sisters and brothers that compels us to go that extra mile.
    We are glad you made it out alive.

  190. Seriously, I just wanted to add my own "thank you".

    I retired from the criminal justice system several years back and have just a tiny bit of experience in the woes of our clients home lives.

    I was, and still am, in awe of you case workers that regularly stepped into the worst conditions.

    So very happy that you get a well deserved respite. Congratulations on your retirement.

  191. jane deere says

    I have to admit that I have been a "blog stalker" of yours for quite a while now. I don't know why I don't leave comments very much…I mean, I always like them.

    Anyway, I just want to say thank you for what you've done in the past and that you for what you do and will do in the future.

    My husband and I were foster parents for a while and adopted 3 of our foster children. In the time we were involved in CPS, it opened my eyes to a whole new world and a deep need our communities have and we as a collective community are (or should be) responsible for. I can only imagine your day to day life doing a thankless job.

    So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I will remember you and others like you every time I look in to the beautiful faces of my children!

  192. If it had not been for people like you susan the elderly might not have survived or been taken care of or being more abused. So I know all your efforts have taken a toll on you but I appreciate what you have done over the years. My mother was taken advantage of from her own daughter but no more mother is gone. Sad but true and I can't wait to continue to read your blog. God has blessed you and kept you safe!

  193. Susan, I respect you for a job well done! I work for an attorney and have seen my share of alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. and the sad stories that go along with our clients. I could write a book about some very sad situations also, but I try not to dwell on the bad.
    I hope you enjoy your well deserved time at home playing with your dishes.
    I still have to work!

  194. Susan, you certainly have my respect and God's blessing!

  195. Most of us drop a check in the church basket, or in the mail to a charity of our choice. With that, we often feel we have "done our share" for "those in need". While I realize you chose this as your career, that in itself speaks volumes about you. Obviously, you have shown from the get-go you care about the human condition of others. I cannot fault you for deciding to retire. It's clearly a dangerous, stress filled, depressing, and I'm sure, often thankless job. You really DO deserve mental health time of your own.

    Some years ago, my husband and I volunteered delivering meals to the elderly as well as serving the homeless at a soup kitchen. It was absolutely heart wrenching to find the conditions that many endured. It leaves you with mind pictures that are hard to shake. At that time, (10 yrs ago) we didn't deal with the threatening elements you have encountered. In the years since my husband's death, I've found it increasingly more dangerous. Too dangerous to continue. Many of the volunteers are now older. The proliferation of alchol/drugs, drug trafficking, and the ensuing violence is a definite deterrent.

    Still, I wonder, without people like you, or even without volunteers, what happens to the elderly, the abused, the mentally ill. What happens to the children who are living in these unspeakable conditions…here in the USA, in our home towns.

    You have done the work of Angels.

  196. says

    I just reread this post and am absolutely amazed. It is almost unbelievable. You could definitely write a book. Your blog is a testimony to your talent, but this achievement… this job that you have just finished… truly unbelievable.
    God bless you and Congratulations!

  197. Susan…..I honestly know your story but in a different aspect of the field. I retired in January 2010 after working 27 years for the State Of Oklahoma. I worked in adult corrections and with the juvenile delinquent system. I have seen and read cases of abuse that would make anyone cringe with disbielf. The dispare of their environment and the abuse they were subject to is unbelievable. I do wish to return to the workforce next year but at this point I am not sure where. Until then I am enjoying my home and family.

    Susan, thank you, thank you, thank you, for your service to the elderly as sometimes your voice was the only voice that could be heard. And sometimes it only takes that one voice to make a difference. Best wishes and success to your future.

  198. Cynthia@ITLLDO says

    Your story is so familiar to me. I retired after 23 years as a school nurse. Most would think it a cushy job where you occasionally apply a bandaid. I too found myself in the homes of children that should not be inhabited by a wild animal. And teachers wondered why the child does not succeed? These kids don't know what they will come home to. When they are supposed to be studying for a test, they are fighting for their lives or protecting their parents.

    I can see why you came home to focus on the beauty in your life and helping us see that there is a fairy tale version that some of us are priviledged to live. I reminded myself daily how very thankful I am that I was born to a hardworking middle class family and not into the world only us public servants entered into during the secret times of our work day. After 5 years of retirement, it is easy to forget, but we must always remind ourselves that we are not examples of the norm these days. There is much suffering hidden around us…even worse than we see on the news.

  199. Graceful Moments says

    All I can say is that I have admired you for your creativity, masterful design and beautiful blog but my admiration just increased tenfold. I somehow cannot picture the woman who lives in your beautiful home and who brings us so much beauty through your blog, stepping into a house covered in feces, roaches and rats. It is amazing how little we really know about each other. Thank you for sharing it. God bless you for doing the job you did, for as long as you did. I am sure your interventions helped to save lives but I can certainly see how the weight was lifted from your shoulders when you resigned.

  200. Wow! What a story and life! So glad you were able to make a change for the better. Best wishes on beginning a new line of work!

  201. Cote de Texas says

    whoa. whoa. i just read this. amazing. can't get images of your descriptions out of my head. thanks. hehe, i'm trying to go to sleep!

    oy. well – i'm impressed to say the least. i've always imagined how people do those jobs that i see on tv. hard to believe that i knew one of them!

    i must say i am glad you retired though – you can enjoy the beauty of your own life that you've created. you are really an inspiration.

  202. Your story describes an amazing life transition. You are truly in the sunshine now. Enjoy your time on the porch…you have earned it! Congratulations!!!

  203. Roz Sullivan says

    Dear Susan,
    I am so grateful for the Link that led me to BNOTP. Reading your story today was quite humbling. To know that you found beauty amidst horror and suffering is inspiring. I feel sorry for all the members of society who no longer have such a dedicated advocate in their corner. As the Lord would say, ” Well done my faithful servant!” Thank you for all you accomplish on behalf of all of us.

    Best regards,

  204. WOW! I know I’m 2 years late reading this post about your years as an APS case worker but I had to comment, even this late. My experiences pale in comparison to yours but with some of the jobs I’ve had as a public school teacher as well as volunteer work through my church, give me an inkling to what you dealt with. Thank you for being there for those who needed you. You did make a difference in their lives, whether they realized it or not. As I read this, it became clear to me that is why you love blogging so much. You now share beauty which means so much to you and which our world needs so desperately. Bless you for the way you are still going into people’s homes ~ just in a very different format. You care about people. Bless you!

  205. Terry Durden says

    I, too, am reading this post 2 years later and can only say a lot of us just thought we had gut-wrenching jobs! You certainly are an amazing person – first evidenced to me by your blog and now knowing the job you did for eight years.
    Please accept a “well done!” from a fellow gal in Marietta!

  206. I’m so glad you made it out of there. I know how thankless that job is, as my BFF worked for the Dept of Children and Family Services for 3 years, before she couldn’t stand it anymore. I was her sounding board pretty much every day she worked there and the stories she told were unimaginable.

    Anyway, thank you for helping those people and I hope after these few years, you’ve recovered from the trauma you must have endured on a daily basis. Hugs to you Susan!

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