Family Photo 2015

Family Photo 2015

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding the words...and finding the time

So I could bore all my readers with the multiple reasons and excuses as to why I have not posted things in a while. The reality is that we are all busy, and the Thanksgiving/Christmas Season just adds to that craziness. But for me, there was something different. Back in the late summer, I decided I would go on a Twitter/Facebook/Blog fast. At that point in time, I felt like I was spending large amounts of my time with all the social networking world. So much so, that I sometimes found myself thinking that I had become really good friends with people Travis Cottrell because I follow him on Twitter! (yes that does sound a little creepy & no i do not twitter stalk him) So the fast came and went, and yet I felt like God was not finished with me. That He was still inviting me to go deeper. Did I listen? If I could answer that question as gray as possible I would say "Sometimes." If I had to answer it in Black and White form...I would have to say "No I did not listen". I found myself diving right back into the things that were consuming me. The good news was that I was spending less time with them, the bad news was that it was not because of my choosing, it was because my schedule was becoming busy enough that I had barely enough time to check email.
Then I noticed I had not paid much attention to my blog. I remembered thinking back to my reasons for doing this. I wanted to create a space where I could write freely, dream big, laugh loudly, and richly inspire. So the last few post have been different videos and collections of things that have happened (and yes I know the snake story provided great humor for many). But I still felt like a clanging cymbal. I felt like I was posting for the sake of posting...as if I have thousands of readers who cannot wait to read my latest adventure...and if I didn't post something, then they were going to be highly disappointed! The reality was that I was not turning to the One who richly inspires me; who gives me the change to dream big and who has given me the gift of song and laughter.
So here I am, reflecting upon the past year and wondering what the next year will bring! I am praying that God would give me the words to say to extend his grace. I am praying that God would give me peace of mind about timing in my life. I am praying that all roads that I travel down this coming year and beyond, will draw me closer to Him and others to Him.

RG

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baby Girl is Walking...where is all the time going?

I just had to post this video! We cannot believe that our baby girl is 10 months old...and walking!!!
video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Final VCN Now 11 14 10



Latest edition of VCN NOW!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Johanna Fincher & Ryan Gage - Time To Say Goodbye



I found this online the other day! I do miss performing! But I am excited to be singing with the symphony in December!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

THE ORIGINAL COCKROACH VS. WEATHERMAN



Imagine me with the snake...only louder!

The Scream heard round the world...or just 2 time zones!


Today I posted a statement on my face book page about an incident between myself, and a certain creature from the reptile species. The truth is that I have a serious, serious, serious fear of snakes. This fear was set in me at a young age while watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Or was it Raiders of the Lost Ark? Either way, this story would not be possible without the cinematic skills creative force of Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford.
PICTURE THIS: I was on the phone with the Direct TV lady-who I will refer to as Rose- because our DVR box decided to stop working the night before. She asked me if I could go back to the house and get a code number from the box. Naturally I was willing,so I started on my long journey back to the home....which is probably a few hundred feet from the office. To not waste time, I decided I would jog back. I am sure that Rose was thrilled to hear me panting on the other end of the phone because I had quickly become winded. As I was approaching the house, I decided I would entertain my inner track star by hurdling over the yard border. Once I cleared the border, the trouble began.
Once I landed, I took three more steps before I noticed that I was stepping on a really dark stick. I am not sure why I slowed down, but there I was looking at my foot, that was stepping on the back half of a black snake. Of course, my heart stopped. And I could feel myself preparing to whimper out loud like a lost puppy... THEN IT HAPPENED. As I was quickly walking aways from it, the snake was coming at me! And he was coming fast!!!! At that point, my inner track star was eclipsed by my inner black woman, who decided that the world needed to know what was happening to me. All I could was scream....loud and long! The scream went something like this:

"OOOOHHHH HELP! HELP!ITS A SNAKE SWEET BABY JESUS GET AWAYS FROM ME! AAAAAHHH!! OH HELP ME LORD!"
The scream was also accompanied by me jumping up and down in circles in my drive way! Once I gained my composure, I realized that the snake was no longer chasing me. I think the high pitched screaming ran him off. I quickly looked around to see if anyone had heard my cries for help...alas no one was there. But I think that was a good thing because I was not sure how I was going to explain all that screaming!
As I was walking toward my front door, I could hear a faint voice calling my name. Before long, I realized that in all of this self-commotion, I had dropped my phone on the ground and Rose was still on the line!
Sheepishly, I picked up the phone and responded in my deepest man voice(which is really hard because I am a tenor)
Me: "Yes this is Mr. Gage"
Rose: "Are You okay Mr. Gage."
In that moment, I thought about telling her that I was being chased by a really big dog, but before I could response she continued.
Rose: "Its nice to know that I am not the only person who is deathly afraid of Snakes. Although I don't think I can scream that high!"
Me: "(Silent)"
Rose: "For a minute I thought I was going have to call 911 to help you. But then I realized that would not be possible because you are in Florida and I am in Colorado."
Me: "Well Thank you for being so concerned."
Rose: (And this is a direct Quote) "Who wouldn't be concerned with all that screaming...I really thought you were being robbed!"
Me: "Well Thank you again...(i think)"

In the end, I was able to make into the house to get the code Rose needed and I alive and able to tell this story.
I don't think there is a message or point to this story...other then the confirmation that I really can scream like a girl, and that I really hate snakes.
If anything, I hope you enjoy the laugh!

RG

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Tweet?


So last night was the first time in 2 years that we actually walked the neighborhood to collect candy! It was really a great time! And it brought back a lot of memories of me and my cousins hitting the streets of Midwest City, Oklahoma to fill our bags.
But here's the deal! I was out with my son, and his best friends Nathaniel and Lucas. Keep in mind that Nathaniel is 11 and Lucas is 13 or 14 (i can't remember)You know the conversations was really interesting. Between collecting candy,dodging cars,and stranger danger, I found myself laughing at these goofy kids. So instead of me trying to retell the stories, listed below are some of the tweets from our epic Halloween journey.

-Headed 2 the Parker's 2 enjoy the evening! #smores
-Is loving the fact that @expert_fisher is comparing the heaviness of his trick or treat bag with the 11 yr old & 4 yr old.
-TOO FUNNY! @expert _fisher just got yelled at by some dirty old man!
-With my phone and ring tones in hand, i have decided 2 be the black Justin beiber for Halloween! #babybabybabyOhhhh
-From the mouth of Nathaniel Parker "A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta itch," that is all i can tell u! #tmi
-Considered walking up 2 a door that had a confederate flag in the yard! #dixiegonebad

Overall it was a great night! Good Fellowship with Great people!
RG

10 31 10 VCN Now



Hey Friends! Here is the latest VCN video that we ran in service yesterday. I am not quite sure what I have gotten myself into with these videos, but they are fun! Thanks to everyone who was involved!

Friday, October 15, 2010

VCN Now 10 17 10

HEY FRIENDS! Here is the latest edition of our Video Announcments! Hope you enjoy them!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dear Aunt Lou: A Letter of Reflection.

Dear Aunt Lou,

I got the phone call today telling me that you were no longer here. Right away, I had to pause and thank God for the chance we had to see each other this summer. Before that, I realized it had been way to long since our last visit together. For that I am sorry, but I know mom did her best to keep you up to date with all of our happenings her in Florida. As the afternoon and evening went on, I found myself remembering all the wonderful memories we shared. I know there are too many to count but there are a couple that immediately came to mind.
Storytelling's and so & so. I can remember many times when mom and I would come to your house, I would be excited because I knew you would have a story to tell. Of course we would take a moment and catch up on our daytime "stories." Most of these stories were extremely humorous, but many of them were life lessons that could be applied to my life then and now. Most importantly, through these stories, I got to see and understand first hand how much you cared for your family. You embraced us all and in a lot of ways you became another grandmother to me and the other cousins.
Holy Hats and Fashion: Who could forget Aunt Lou's hats? I do not think there was ever a time that you did not have a beautiful hat for church service. There were many shopping adventures to your favorite stores to find the right dress...but more importantly, the right hat. I was reminded of the importance of giving your best to the Kingdom...and that included looking your best.
Food Friends for Life: There is no denying that you and I shared a common love for cooking, making, sharing and eating food. I would always laugh anytime you would call and ask me what I was making for dinner. And like wise, any time I was at your house I would inquire about your dinner plans...or desserts. If there is one thing the Gage Family can do well...it is to eat. I realized a couple of years ago, that my appreciation for making food for others, came from you and grandma Jewel. I can still remember summers in Atoka with you, me and grandma in the hot kitchen mixing cakes, frying chicken, baking cobblers, and of course perfecting the banana pudding! It was an honor to stand along side you both and share in the gift of making "Soul Food."
The list could go on and on of our time together. But my mind began to wonder, where do we go from here? The pain is so fresh in the hearts of our family. There are those who question why? But we are reminded of the hope we have in Christ! I was comforted by His word in 1 Thessalonians 4 that states:
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord, himself with a cry of command, with the archangels call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." Aunt Lou, this is not our good bye. I am praising God that you are in no pain. I am praising God because you have found your reward. Being where you are right now, looking down on us, I wonder if you would say something like the words to this song.

You Wouldn't Cry

All you saw was pain. All you saw was rain
But you should see me now, Moments filled with tears,
Lasted all those years, Disappeared somehow
You never said goodbye, On your knees you cry
You're still asking why, but

Blue has never been bluer. True has never been truer
Honey never tasted so sweet, There's a song in the breeze
A million voices of praise.
A rose has never smelled redder. The sun has never been brighter
If I could find the right words to say,
If you could look at my face
If you could just see this place, You wouldn't cry for me today.

What you think you see, isn't really me. I'm already home.
You've got to lay it down, Cause Jesus holds me now.
And I am not alone.
Your faith is wearing thin, But I am watching Him... And He's holding you too.

What may seem like years will just be a moment.
Oh the day will come when I'll show you where you're going. I can't wait to show you that,

Blue has never been bluer. True has never been truer
Honey never tasted so sweet, There's a song in the breeze
A million voices of praise.
A rose has never smelled redder. The sun has never been brighter
If I could find the right words to say,
If you could look at my face
If you could just see this place, You wouldn't cry for me today.

Thank you for being supportive and encouraging to me and my growing family. You will always have a special place in my heart!

You are missed! You are loved!

Ryan

VCN Now for 9 19 2010



Here is another edition to our video announcement series!

Friday, September 17, 2010

VCN Now. 9.5.10.mov




hope u enjoy our new video announcements!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Statements by Keller: Chocolate Dreams

The other day, Ashley was telling me about the conversation she and Keller had in the car the other day. Even though I was not there to hear it, I still needed to share it with you! The conversation takes place after school on the way home:
ASHLEY: Keller how was school today?
KELLER: Fine! Ugh, is daddy going to be at home or at church?
ASHLEY: I will be at the church.
KELLER: Well, when I grow up I am going to be just like daddy!
ASHLEY: You are? Well that is very nice!
KELLER: Yes!!! I am going to be Dark Chocolate, just like daddy!!!

If you do not understand the humor of this message, I encourage you to go back and ready the previous statement by Keller, which refers to us as the chocolate family. Some people think I should compile all these stories and phrases and publish a book. A working title has already been submitted..."Through the Eyes of Keller"

31 days of Prayer and Praise: The conclusion...or just the beginning?

Well this is the final day of my 31 days of prayer, fasting and praise. Can I be honest and tell you that this was really hard for me? And If I am really honest with myself, I can say that I do not think it is over. I had set a date to complete the fast on September 1st and I was proud of myself for not counting down the days until I would be able to eat lunch, send tweets, and even update my facebook status. In fact, I almost forgot about the date. But here was the interesting thing. Once I realized what day it was, my mind started thinking about what I was going to say, or tweet. As the day went on, I never did any of those things. But these 31 days were about so much more then giving up the technologies and foods that I love. Of course I knew that going into it, but yesterday was when it hit home. It was one of those days when nothing goes right, nothing goes as planned, and folks were just being down right ugly. Do you ever have one of those days? As the day went on, it was just one thing after another. I finally had to take a moment and not only pray to the Lord, but to offer up praise. As I was praying, I looked down at my desk and noticed my bible opened to the following passage:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," (Ephesians 3:20)
After reading these words, my spirit was lifted. I could not let myself get bogged down in the things that were happening around me. Just because my fasting period was finishing, I could still hear his voice saying "go deeper. We are not finished." My heart has been up lifted during this time...and I am curious and anticipating what the Lord is going to reveal to me through his word.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Blogger Anniversary

I cannot believe that I have been doing this Blogger thing for a year! Words cannot describe how up lifting this experience has been for me. Actually, I guess words can describe since this is a blog post! lol I have been encouraged by so many friends and family. In fact, I did not really realize how many people were reading these postings!
As many of you know I have been on a fast this month and one of the things I was convicted about the use of technologies like facebook, twitter, and even blogger. I think we all know that our words really can be powerful. whether we like it or not, our words create action....both good and bad. All the social networking, blogging and Internet outlets have given us as Christians a huge opportunity to be light in the world. So my challenge in this next blogging chapter is to continue to encourage, hope to inspire, but to always remind people that they are not walking their journey alone.

Happy Reading Everyone!

RG

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brown Sugar Boutique

It all started the day we found out we were having a daughter! The hair bow obsession was in full force...and there was nothing I could do about it, except go along on the ride! And now here we are six months later at the grand opening of my wife's new company, Brown Sugar Boutique.



I probably say this a lot, but I am the luckiest man in the world! My wife is totally awesome and amazing! She never ceases to amaze me. And now, you can experience her creativity through these wonderful custom made hair bows and accessories. You can see our beautiful model showing some items and additional products! I encourage you to check out the website at http://www.brown-sugar-boutique.com/ Did I mention there is a grand opening sale?!?!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

31 days of praise: an update

Today I begin my 14th day of the fast. Let me get straight to the point and say how difficult this process has been. At the same time, I am in awe of all that the Lord is revealing to me. I do need to confess that I did break the fast on my birthday to tell everyone Thank you for their birthday wishes through twitter and facebook. I did not want to be rude...but I was quickly called out by my good friend Nick. Even though he was joking with me (I think) he said "a fast is a fast." The truth is he is right! I discovered in that moment that we spend so much of our time and energy making justifications...I don't think we realize we are doing it. How many times have we heard people say "I don't have time..." or "I'm to busy..." How many times have you made those statements. How many times have you made those statements when it comes to your time with God? This is was one of the problems I needed to address in my own life. I was able to make justifications for the things I wanted to do and excuses for the things that I could not do or just did not want to do.
To add salt to this wound of laziness I am a reminded of a the story of Abraham and ultimate sacrifice God had called him to make. We know that Abraham was a man that feared the Lord. We know that for Abraham, his life was devoted to serving the Lord. As I was reading these chapters in Genesis this week, I was amazed that Abraham was willing to go, no questions asked. Even though it meant sacrificing his most treasured position. As I father myself, I am asking myself how he did it? After all, he was human...surely he had some doubts as he was climbing that mountain with Isaac....yet, he continued to climb. Of course we know that Isaac was spared and a ram was offered as the sacrifice that day.
As I am walking through this journey, I am learning that it is not about my devotion time, but my devoted life. PLEASE don't misunderstand that statement. I don't want that statement to sound like an excuse or justification for not spending time with God. If anything, that statement should encourage us to spend more time with him. Sometimes, I fear that we have placed devotion time in a box and expect God to speak to us in one hour...no more, no less. It is clear that people learn and process in many different ways and we hear from God in different ways. I encourage you to find new ways to be engaged in His spirit. If we want to live devoted lives for him, then yes, you have to spend time in His word, hearing His voice, and even making sacrifices. If our lives are completed devoted to God, then the "devotion time" becomes some so amazing, and cherished.
As I begin this next week, I am encouraged about what is in store...even though I do not know what it could be. It could be living in the plain (read last blog post) or it could be something exciting. When I compare these small things I am giving up to Abraham (which I shouldn't), I realize two things:
1. In no way are these comparisons equal.
2. I just need to put on my big boy underwear and seek His will, listen to His voice, and go where he leads!

RG

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Fridays: 259.2

July felt like a very long month. Before we left on vacation was at set a goal to lose 3lbs while I was in Oklahoma. Instead of losing those 3lbs, I gained them. But I am glad that I am starting August at my former weight. I was proud of myself for doing some form of exercise while I was there. Looking back on it, it was a little defeating because that Braum's Ice Cream was so good.
I am looking forward to August, because it means the return of a routine. Summer is so carefree and that translates in what you eat. But the thing I am discovering about myself is that because I love sweets so much, I need to cut them out. I am not at the point that I can say that it is safe for me to have a little every once in a while. Because that leads me to eating more of it. So this month I am focusing more time on my food intake (especially the sweets) and making my workouts more intense. I am sure there will be funny gym stories.

My weight lost goal for this month is set for 8lbs!

How is your journey?

RG

Saturday, July 31, 2010

31 days of prayer and praise: The Beginning

I have found that in blogging you can create a world of unique transparency. This journey has been a great one for me. I hope those of you that are reading have had a good laugh and maybe been inspired along the way. The next few weeks, my postings are going to take a little bit of a detour. I hope that you will consider going on this journey with me. Let me try to explain.

As Christians, we know that our relationship and our walk with Christ is any thing but dull. I believe that life comes to us in 3 forms; mountains, valleys, and plains. The mountaintop moments in our lives are of course when we have some great moment...whether that be with a job, personal relationship, or spiritual revelation. It is those mountaintop experiences that we want to hold on too, because we like the way we were feeling in those moments. These are the moments that we find it most easy to praise God, because His hand in our life is obvious. The valleys are those low moments that we do not want to talk about. These are the moments that we wish we could sweep under the rug and be back at the mountain. We find it difficult to praise God because we can't always see past the situation to know that He is in fact moving. The valley is usually a place that we knocked into, or placed there by some unforeseen circumstance or situation. The valley is the complete opposite of the mountain. And yet we know that the valley is a place that we can move from. It is a place that, though we don't want to be there, we can find a way out. Then there is the plain. For some people the plain of our life is more uncomfortable then the valley. For many, myself included, there are moments that I do not feel like I am living unless something is happening...be it good, or bad (mountain or valley). The reality is, the plain is the perfect place to be for deeper encounter with God.
The other day I was thinking about what I wanted for my birthday. How was this birthday going to be different from last year? After all, I am going to be 31...so this birthday has to start off big! The truth is, the more I sat and thought about it, the more I heard God's voice telling me to be still. How can you truly be still and know that He is God? Yes, I understand in our world that, stillness and a quiet attitude are rare. But think back to those moments where you were intentional about your quiet time, and focused on His word despite the screaming children in the background. Remember how you felt in that week or two weeks where you were pouring yourself into His word and He was pouring His spirit over you. Time alone with God, however you do it, is essential to our spiritual growth and maturity. Which brings me to these 31 days.
I will be honest with you and say, my quiet time is sparse at best. It has become easy for me to say that my schedule is so busy doing stuff for the Kingdom, that it has trumped my personal time with Him. But it wasn't just my job. I can say that my social time has become a factor in this as well. Especially when you consider Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc. As I was examining the things in my life, I realized that my passion to serve God and live in His will for my life is greater then any of this stuff in my life. And I had to be real with myself and say, "You know, It has been a while since I really heard from the Lord."
All the while, I have been having this feeling that something big is about to happen! Do you ever get that feeling? You can't plan it. You can't force it into being. As I was praying one night about these feelings, I heard God say to me "Ryan, its time to go deeper." For me that means, I am letting go of certain things that would distract me from His voice. For me, that means I need to learn to live in the plain of my life and be comfortable. So for the next 31 days I am giving up the following things:
-Facebook and twitter
-fasting one meal a day
-All TV except for news(it is hurricane season...I need to watch the weather)

What I need for people to understand is that I am not doing this fast as a way to get God to give me what I want or what I think I need. This is me, finding ways to live in the plains of my life and be attentive to his voice.
I appreciate your prayers as I walk this journey. I am praying that God's will would be done and that His voice rings loud and clear in my hear.

RG

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Take Me Back to Oklahoma Part II

As mentioned before, our family is spending 12 days in the great state of Oklahoma. It is truly a homecoming for both me and Ashley. In addition, it is a brand new experience for our children since Keller was 2 years old our last trip, and this is Kerrington's first major trip.
There is so much we want to do and so many people we want to see and believe it or not 12 days may not be enough...but that is all that we have so we are making the most of it!

The first half of the trip was spent in the Oklahoma City area. I, of course, grew up in the city, so driving down all the familiar roads and highways brought back a lot of memories. We were able to go back to my home church, Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene. I was asked to sing a couple of songs...and of course I was willing! It was great to see so many old friends. But I think the word 'friends' is a big understatement. As I was scanning the congregation, my mind was flooded with memories of these people who believed in me from day one. My heart was overwhelmed with feelings and reflections of these people who encouraged, support, prodded, guided and extended grace to me! I am forever indebted to this congregation and forever grateful to the Lord for leading us to this place.

In addition to our church family reunion, there was a mini Gage family reunion...with some of our extended family. Since I was raised as an only child, I am "blessed" to have many cousins, auntie's, uncle's, great auntie's & uncle's...you get the point. So we had a family day which was tons of fun and loaded with laughter. It is always fun to reminisce with my cousin because we are so close in age and we shared so many summer adventures. It is great to see how our own families are growing and shaping. Though we wish we could see each other more, it is nice to know we can stay connected through our technologies!

We were able to return to our Alma Mater, Southern Nazarene University to look around and maybe see some former professors. We were in luck as we ran into Dr. Reighard, my piano professor, friend, and all around funny man! We were in stitches, cracking up and sharing stories. Before we knew it, we had spent an hour and a half in his office...and that was our first stop on the visit. Needless to say, the tour was cut a little short! lol

The second half of the trip was spent in the rolling plains of Thomas Oklahoma. It is amazing to me how fast you forget the simple living of small town America. In fact, as I was walking one morning, I heard these ladies chatting about their day. When lady A was asked what was on her agenda, she replied "Nothin' really...just goin make jelly! That's enough" Then, of course, that started my obsession with Sandplum Jelly! Have you had it yet? Our son was in heaven in Thomas. The grandparents bought him one of those kiddie pools that we all had growing up! He even got creative and put the Little Tikes Plastic slide in there, as his own personal water slide. I cannot even count the number of hours he spent in that pool.

Another highlight of the trip came a random idea. Ashley I realized that we were not going to see everyone we wanted to see while we were in Oklahoma. So we planned a "Lunch with the Gages". So we placed the announcement on Facebook...thinking that we would have a few people join us. Well, we almost shut the place down with people. Okay, maybe I am stretching it a little but we were not planning to have over 30 people. It was so great to see so many faces. Many of them we have not seen since our wedding. So there was 7 years of catching up to do. In that moment, I was reminded of how God truly blesses your life with friendship and love. Our hearts were full that day...and our stomachs!

It is always great to return to the places where you began! The past provides a unique opportunity to praise the Lord for those moments in your life. At the same time, it provides you that same opportunity of praise for the plans He has for your future. I am extremely humbled and grateful for this time we shared. There are so many more stories to share, but I don't want bog down the blogging world. The finale of this series will be from the prospective of our son, Keller! You don't want to miss it!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Take my Back to Oklahoma Series

So this year for our vacation, the Gage family is returning to the heartland of America. I am talking about OOOOOOOOOOOOOOK-lahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. Even as I am typing this entry, we are in the beautiful city of Yukon, OK.
The next three entries will be devoted to our adventures in the great state of our beginnings. Be prepared to laugh, get a little misty eyed and do a double take. I am sure that there will be many stories to tell, so I will try to keep it brief. Here is a teaser:

Today was Extended Gage Family day! After our dinner-which had some really good food-we went to my great aunt's house! As we were turning down her street, you could hear the laughter of children. And as we drew closer to Aunt Lou's house, we could see my cousins playing in the street....on my aunt's hover rounds (notice the plural). Who would have thought a group of kids could have so much fun? That is until the batteries ran out!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom to Worship God...Who Has Given Us Freedom!

I knew it was going to happen! Since Independence Day fell on a Sunday, I knew someone was going to ask the question "How many patriotic songs are we singing in the Sunday Service?" However, I was not expecting to be attacked for not doing enough patriotic music. I had a member of our congregation inform me today that I was not very patriotic or American for only doing 2 patriotic songs in our Worship Service. I realize that by typing this post, I am possibly opening myself up for some criticism...but I just need to voice my feelings.

Let it be said that I am extremely humbled and fortunate to be an American. We all know that we are blessed to have the freedoms that we have and to live as we do. I am very aware of the sacrifices that were made by the many men and women who have served in the Armed Forces-past and present.

Sometimes I feel that there are people in the world who blur the line between their political views and their spiritual calling. I think on days like today we have to be careful that worship remains focused on Him and not become worship of our country.

I confess to you that I some times struggle with how to balance my faith and my Christian convictions with my civic responsibilities and allegiance. How do we appropriately express our patriotism without giving the impression that our ultimate trust is in our government rather than in our God? Amazingly, my devotion time this morning lead me to Psalm 76. Take a moment and read it...for this psalm was helping me to see how God can be honored because of His work in our land.

As a worship leader, it is my responsibility, first and for most, to help lead people into a personal encounter with the Living God. So when it comes to holiday events, on Sundays-like today-though I want to respect the said event, I do not think it should be the reason why we are gathering together. Personally, What we did for our service today was a wonderful representation of who we are as Americans...but more importantly, as children of God. Today it was my responsibility to remind people that not only do we celebrate the freedom that we have to worship our Living God, but we celebrate the freedom we have gained by the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Fridays: 259.4

The month of June was a good month. Going into June was a little rough because I realized that I had gained more weight then I thought. But praise God, I have lost a total of 8lbs. for the month!
Ashley and I have made a better effort of holding each other accountable for what we are eating and for what activities we are doing. Moving forward has been our theme and if any of you follow us on twitter, you how these two words have become a standard in all that we are doing! One of the highlights of the month has been our epic return to Zumba class. Let me just say, that if you have never been in a zumba class, you need to go! Not only is it a great workout, but you can walk out with some great stories. I think my next blog series will be about our class.
Of course you have to understand that for any person wanting to lose weight, there is this small amount of vanity involved. I think we were a little more motivated to shed the pounds because of our upcoming trip to Oklahoma. But for me personally, the idea of living sloppy, like I have been, is just not appealing, and it is not who I am. And I know it is not who God called me to be. As I am working through this sloppy revelation, being appealing and attractive for the Kingdom takes on a whole new meaning. When I say these words, appealing and attractive, I don't mean it in the pretty christian people way. What I am trying to say is that, if I, personally, am going to do ministry for the Kingdom-and do it well- I have to be willing to tone up all areas of my life. It also means cleaning up the messes of life and refocusing on His will for me. It could me less time on Facebook and a fewer tweets. In my last entry, I talked about having this fear of succeeding. I think i was and at times still afraid, because God is going to require me to give up some things and maybe some people, that do not fall into his plan for my life. In our daily living, I know and believe that God reveals more and more of himself to us. Though his layers are vast and different, our response should always be the same...obedience.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finding Patience and Strength in the Everlasting God

Recently, our congregation sang the song "Everlasting God" by Brenton Brown. I have to say that this is one of my favorite worship songs today! It comes straight from scripture, the tune is catchy and congregational friendly...but mostly I like it for the what the text is saying to us, at least what it is saying to me.

I love when the Lord leaves you small messages throughout your day. The past couple of weeks, the words to this song have kept playing in my mind. As I sing these words in my heart, I am reminded of two of many things we can find in the Lord; Patience and Strength. I may have mentioned it in my previous post, but lately I have been feeling sloppy, and I am not just referring to my eating habits... actually I am. But what I am trying to say is that I have become extremely lazy and sloppy in all areas of my life, including the spiritual needs. That is really hard for me to say out loud especially since I am in ministry, but I need to be completely honest.

As I was sitting in my small group last week, I was so inspired about moving forward with our weight loss journey and with moving forward and doing better with everything else in my life. It was as if God had removed the over sized blinders covering my life and revealing in full detail just what was happening. I guess that is why I have not blogged in a while or even completed some journal entries. But the questions remain, how was I going to do this? How was I going to move forward and not go or look back? How was I going to dig through the slop and get back to where God wants me to be? Then Brown's song and those words came back to my mind....Patience and strength.
As I was studying the word, two passages of scripture held my attention. The first was found in James 5:8-12 and it states:

"Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the LORD. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts for the coming of the LORD is near.

When I read that passage, God was reminding me that all good things take time. And of course we always say that God's timing is better then our own. So in my desire for healthy living, and all that it involves, I am having to remind myself that this is in no way a quick fix. Plus, I have to remember that this is so much bigger then what I am eating and how I exercise. For me it was trusting and obeying. It is trusting that God will indeed see me and my friends through this journey! In turn we need to be obedient to His voice and be prepared to head down the road he may take us. Which brings me to the next word: strength. Isaiah 40:28-31 says it all

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall run and not faint. "

Yes this process will be hard. There will be challenges along the way. But I rejoice because I know my strength is coming from Him. Everyday and everything of my life has to begin with him. During these past few weeks I have found myself becoming weary. Like most people, our responsibilities and our schedules can leave us feel depleted, exhausted, and well, weary. No matter our positions and responsibilities in life, we can all agree that there are times that we can grow tired in our day to day tasks. If you are reading this blog, I pray that you are encouraged and reminded that no matter where you are in your life, we take comfort in knowing that our God is faithful, and as the scriptures says "never grows weary." He is the God that gives us the patience to endure and that he is indeed our strength!

RG

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Friday: 263 and down on my knees

You get out of it what you put into it! This is the shortest, quickest way I can sum up this weight loss journey. I discovered that I was putting up this wall to success in this area of my life. Why can't I see myself at the finish line of this journey? This past month I found several opportunities to move forward both spiritually and physically...and yet, I did not act upon it. Instead, I chose to lay there on the couch with crumbs on my face watching gobs of season and series finales!
Well, June is upon us and I have reason to celebrate! I am thankful that my wife has not given up on me. She has been a constant encourager and support! The bad news...I don't think I have done a good job of encouraging her on this same journey. So we began this month anew with more drive and determination. One of my favorite songs is "Moving Forward" by Israel & New Breed. I close this post with the chorus.

"I'm not going back, I moving ahead. I'm here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ. I'm moving, moving forward!"

As we begin our next study, I am looking forward to moving forward with our small group...not just in the area of weight loss. But in our relationship with each other and our relationship with Christ!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Remembering the Journey

A few weeks ago our church celebrated its 50th Anniversary. It was a huge event with moments of reflection and praise for our congregation. It was a humbling experience for us to take stock of all the blessings God has bestowed on us as church. Over the course of the anniversary weekend, there was a passage of scripture that the Lord revealed to me.

"I consider the days of old, and remember the years of long ago.
I will call to mind the deeds of the LORD; I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God is holy. What god is so great as our God?"
Psalm 77:5, 11-13
As we were celebrating this milestone in our church history, I found myself reflecting on God's work in my own life. I realize that I have so much to be thankful for. So much praise is due to God...and I am not quite sure where to begin! The song "We Will Remember" by Tommy Walker was one of the songs that we used over the course of the anniversary! I love the last two verses of the song:
"When we walk through life's darkest valleys, we will look back at all You have done.
And we will shout, 'Our God is good and He is the faithful One.'
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, to the One from Whom all blessings flow.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, to the One who's Glory has been shown."
"I still remember, the day You saved me. The day I heard You call out my name.
You said You loved me and would never leave me, and I've never been the same."
Hopefully, you have heard this song. If by chance you have not, I recommend you download it as quickly as possible. Obviously, we as Christians know that musing about the Lord makes us grateful for his hand in our lives. It also reminds us that we are not meant to go through life alone, nor do we because of His faithful presence. Maybe the hard part for us is taking the time to truly stop and reflect upon His goodness.
I encourage you to take a moment-myself included-and recall the first time you heard Him speak to you. Remember the day you heard Him specifically call you by name and be embraced by His love.
RG

Friday, May 7, 2010

First Fridays: 262.0...taking small steps

Ihave to be honest and say that accountability is hard! In this case, I feel like accountability is very embarrassing! I have to keep reminding myself that this journey is not just about the physical results. Of course this month was harder then usual because of all the extra events happening like Easter, 50th Anniversary planning. Let alone the normal events of my life...work, children and so on. But the problem has been that I have not set up a routine for living...this includes my spiritual life as well. So this week, I am creating a new routine for my daily living that will be better balanced. I know that sometimes my work can be consuming at times. And knowing my personality, I will keep working until something is done and completed. But I am going to take the small victory that was achieved this month. In the past, during high stress times, I would find myself eating very poorly...and a lot of fast food. But this time was different! Even though there were moments we had to eat out, I was aware of the amount of food I was eating. Also during these times, I manage to gain more weight.But asu can see there were a couple of ounces lost. So I will keep this small victory with the reminder that in our shaping and molding by God will always take time!

My Mishaps Part II: Worship with "Holey" pants!

I love corporate worship! I love the energy that comes from the Holy Spirit when God's people gather together and glorify His name! Again, for those that know me, know that I like to make myself look presentable in any situation...including Church. And of course I try to stay up with all the fashion do's and don'ts. Everyone says that you should have a black suit. After this story, I have learned that I may need to keep 2 black suits on hand!
Picture This: Sunday Morning Worship for Church Anniversary! There I was running around getting all the last pieces together for the service. As I was going out on the platform, I noticed something on the floor. So of course I bent down to pick it up. In the process of bending was aware that my suit was not fitting like it once did (read FF Blog Post). When this happens...you make adjustments...use one less belt notch, lighter shirts, etc. Anyway, as I was bending down, I heard something snag or pop! I just assumed that it was one of my belt loops that had give way...because it was already hanging by a thread.
So there I was leading worship with no idea what had taken place in the seams of my pants. After the worship set was completed, I sat down on the keyboard to wait for the next segment in the service. The bench is leather and can be a little cool...especially if no one was seating there before me. When I sat down, I noticed the extra coolness of the bench. Naturally, I chalked it up to me being extra hot....the sweat was rolling off my face this day! Since it was now time for the next worship moment, I slowly slid across the bench. Once again, I noticed how cold the bench was...but of course did not have time to ponder what had happened. As I was getting up, I heard the snagging noise again. For a split second(haha), I thought my pants had ripped, but I could not stop and look.
It wasn't until the church dinner that I realized the reality of the situation. As I was loading up some decorations for the dinner, a gust of wind blew in behind me revealing the giant hole in the crotch of my pants. I felt like Marilyn Monroe standing on that man hole with the steam...except I am not wearing a white dress, blonde hair...well you get the point! So I quickly ran into the bathroom to survey the damage! It was bad! So I immediately try to replay the morning to determine when this could have happened. And yes all those snagging moments were not my belt loops...it was in fact the hole getting larger! But I am grateful the Lord still received my offering of worship...even with "holey" pants!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Mishaps Part I: Insert foot in Wal-Mart Door!

This past weekend was the 50th Anniversary of Venice Church of the Nazarene! It was a most wonderful weekend as we celebrated the blessings of God and how He has touched so many lives! But we also looked to the future with great expectations and anticipation at what and how the Holy Spirit will direct us. But you can read more about the spiritual impacts of the weekend in a future post! Let's get to the funny with the first post in "My Mishaps" series...
Picture this: Sunday morning...early: I was pretty much a hot mess from the beginning of the day! We had just spent have the day on Saturday working the Family Fun Fest and then we did our concert of worship with the symphony that evening! So needless to say, getting up the next morning was going to be a miracle. I managed to get myself together and out the door. I had to go to Wal-Mart for some last minute items. Of course everyone knows my love relationship with that store...or lack thereof. Anyway, I thought to myself "how bad could it be? It was almost 7am on a Sunday. No one would be there and therefore nothing crazy could possibly happen right?" WRONG.
I jumped out of the car and started walking toward the front doors of the store. I noticed that the greeter was unlocking the exit side of the doors. Some people would have walked in through those doors...but I have a policy about walking through the wrong side(read previous post). I waited for the enter doors to open, which seemed like an eternity. At last the doors open and I start heading in. In my rush I dropped my keys and quickly bent down to get them. What I did not notice was that the greeter was still messing with the key remote to the door I was walking into...and my foot was stopped right in the entrance. Just as quick as i picked up my keys, i felt this sudden pressure on my foot. I look up only to discover that the entrance doors have closed in on my foot. The good news is that there was no pain...in fact I started laughing because of how funny this must look to someone passing by! With a few colorful metaphors from the greeter, the doors were finally released and my foot was free. I quickly ran into the store to get my items...and then it hit me. I hope i am not on that people of Wal-mart website! Knowing my luck, it will probably show up...which means I am one step closer to being a star!!!!! hahaha

RG

Friday, April 23, 2010

The reality of People Watching

Oh go ahead and confess! You know you do it too!
How many times have we sat in an airport, a park or even a stop light and did a little bit of people watching? I would not go as far as saying it is a spiritual gift but there are some people who are good and the art of people watching...and then there are those who are good at being watched. And you know who you are!
Recently, I was out at a mall doing some shopping with the family. I decided to take Keller to the indoor playground while Ashley went to check out some other stores. For those of you with children, you know how these indoor playgrounds are arranged. Usually the benches enclose the equipment and all the parents sit around and are able to talk to each other and watch the kiddos have a great time.
There I sat, minding my business and making plenty of observations of the different people coming in and out of the playground. The sound of our baby crying pulled me out of the fog of watching people. While I was tending to the baby, I noticed this couple looking at me. Naturally, I smiled and went on about my business. Then after about 5 minutes, I noticed that the same couple was still staring at me. This went on for another few minutes and to be honest, it felt really uncomfortable.
Then it hit me, the reality of people watching is that, someone is out there people watching me! I hope that just made sense! I could not believe that I was naive enough to think that I was immune to those that enjoy watching others. So this got me thinking...what are they looking at? Do I have something on my shirt? In my teeth? But then I found myself asking this question: Do the people watchers see God in me? In how I interact with my wife, children, friends, strangers around me, do they see the evidence of grace in my life? So the true reality of people watching becomes an opportunity for us to indirectly share Christ with those around us. Seeds are being planted in the very actions we do! So the next time you are out at the mall or movie theatre or even driving down the road, ask yourself...Can they see God in me?

RG

Statements from Keller part III "Gone with the Wind"


Many of you know our son personally and so this story will not be surprising to you in the least. For those that don't know him, I encourage you to read the previous blog posts about him and you will understand why have such a great time with him...and he's only 4 years old.

Our story takes place during holy week. I was busy getting the last details finished on the Good Friday Service and I decided to take Keller with me to help me decorate. Of course his version of helping consisted of playing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on the piano, a couple of drum solos, and some sprint races down the center aisle of the Sanctuary. However, he did help me place some of the candles and was quick to correct me if something did not look like it was in the right place (gets that from his mother).

At last our work was done and I needed to place some of the boxes in the choir room...which is directly behind the main platform.

ME: "Keller, we are almost done. I am going to put these boxes away and we can go home."

KELLER: "Okay Dad! I am right here." Here being in the front pew.

So I quickly go backstage, put the boxes away, lock the doors and turn out the lights. I walk back into the sanctuary and notice that Keller is not in the same spot. In fact he is not even in the sanctuary. So I call out his name a couple of times and there was no response. I went back and checked the choir room...still no answer. This was the moment where I could feel my stomach starting to turn into a big knot.

I quickly went toward the foyer and front door. As I am getting closer I notice that the front door was propped open with no child in sight! So of course I went all ghetto in the parking lot calling out for him as loud as I could....and still there was no answer. So I sprint toward the house (an advantage of living next door to the church). I bust through the front door to find Keller in the front room with Ashley and the baby. Oh the plethora of emotions I had at that time: Joy, relief, frustration, anger, fear, humility, etc.

So of course I had to scold him for walking home in the parking lot, next to a road, alone! His face was so sad, because he had never seen me so scared. And I think it scared him as well. So as I am talking to him and correcting him, I realize that Ashley has not said much. I look over to see she is smiling and trying not to laugh. So, of course, I had to ask her what was the deal. She was trying not to laugh because of the story Keller told her before I arrived. The conversation went something like this:

KNOCK, KNOCK, on the door!

ASHLEY: Oh! Hey Keller! Where is Daddy?

KELLER: He is at the church! (Realizing what he has just said) But Mommy, I don't know what happened!

ASHLEY: What do you mean?

KELLER: Well I was there and then the wind picked me up and took me over the parking lot and to the door at the house! I don't know what happened!


Of course as he is sharing this story he is using his arms to represent the wind actually taking him home. As scary as it was in the moment, I love sharing this story because it reminds me to appreciate the innocence of my children and to appreciate how dramatic and creative his mind can be. I cannot wait to see what adventures he and his imaginary friends are going to find. By the way, He has named his friends Keller 2 and Keller 3. Only our child is vain enough to name imaginary people after himself!


RG

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Fridays...262.8 and blaming what I ate!



So yes, I do realize that this post is titled First Fridays(will now call FF), and no your eyes are not playing tricks on you. I was being a procrastinator about writing this entry because I knew how sad the results were! Since my last FF post, I have lost a total of 2lbs and some change... a reality that I am not pleased with. So what went wrong, you might be asking? I am sure that I could feel this blog space with plenty of justifications, reasons, & excuses as to why I did not lose more weight. And some them are merited...actually no, none of them are merited, thus the problem at hand. However there is something deeper happening and I guess I need to ask myself if I really want to go there. If I really want the Spirit to expose some things and some patterns in my life that are a hindrance...as if I can hide something from God! HAHAHA! In the midst of this first month on the journey, I confess that I have felt disconnected with our accountability group. Not just because we started on the heels of the arrival of our daughter, but there has just been this weight (figuratively speaking) holding me down. Therefore it became easy for me to say "well I can't help what I eat right now because people are being kind and cooking dinner for our family." I know you can agree that the last statement sounds as lame as it looks! But here is the good news...

I realized last week that I was once again looking at this all from the wrong perspective. Our groups deals with physical, spiritual, emotional and mental perspectives of living. I was again looking at this only from the physical level. Physical in the sense of what and how I was eating and the lack of physical activity that was and is happening in my life. I feel as if the Lord is dealing with me in some areas (spiritual) and the truth is I cannot conqueror the other components without Him and His guidance. Especially if one of the cornerstone verses of this study is "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." [Philippians 4:13] The one thing I have to remind myself is that may at this time, God does not what me to focus on the weight, but focus on His voice.

During our Good Friday service, there was a thought that came through my mind. God's mercies and grace intersect at the cross. The cross where His Son died and paid the ultimate price...in order that grace may be extended to me. There was this overwhelming sense of shame that came over me because here is God once again reaching out to me, and allowing me to be embraced by his love and to lean on him...and there I was, stuffing some other cookie, biscuit, or donut in my mouth. I realize that His mercies are new...but enough is enough. My desire to be set apart for Him and my desire to eat poorly have intersected and has made a HOT MESS! But again, the good news is that He can make beauty from my mess!


So with my glass half full...of water, I am brushing off the crumbs and powdered sugar stumbling blocks of these past 30 days and pressing on with new passion and spirit that is coming from Him. Thanks to those readers, friends, and family who were keeping me accountable. It was embarrassing and refreshing at the same time to have you checking in and supporting me and my friends! By the way, through all this, I have found a challenge to participate in my first triathlon in the fall! So training will begin soon and those training sessions could be a blog series all on its own! HA HA




RG


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shouting Hosanna

I have always loved spring. I know I have said that in a previous post, but the fact is that there is something so special and unique about this time of year. I think the arrival of spring is one of the many constant reminders of God's hand at work, not just in creation by making all things new and fresh, but His hands are molding us and making us new! Spring also ushers in the modern day reminder of Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. I can hardly believe that Palm Sunday is upon us. I am sure most churches will be taking time in there traditional services to make this moment in our spiritual & literal history with children or adults parading through their sanctuaries with palm branches and shouting "Hosanna."
As I was finalizing some plans for our worship services this week, I wanted to read more about this word. There are a couple of translations/definitions for the word Hosanna, but the one that stuck out to me this week was “LORD save us now!” That’s what the crowds were shouting on the day Jesus road into Jerusalem on the donkey. As I continued reading his word, I could feel that there was a passionate sense of urgency and desperation in there cries to Jesus. It was more then just rolling out the red carpet and welcoming Him to the city. They recognized their need for a deliverer, and they believed that He was the One.
I want to share this scripture with you from Psalm 118:25, 26 it says “O LORD, save us, O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.”
I have to believe that the spirit of the crowds that day was intense. But I am discovering that the word Hosanna was a word more of prayer than praise. When the people say “LORD save us” they are also saying “Come have your way! We know you are our Deliverer. Do what only you can do! Please save us and do it now!”

One of the songs that we are singing this week in simply titled "Hosanna" by Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown. I love the lyrics of the verses:

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You. We turn to You. Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You. We long for You. Hear the sound of hearts returning to You. We turn to You. In Your Kingdom, broken lives are made new. You make us new.

So as I think about our current day...it is clear that we are in need of him. It is clear that some of us, including myself, need to say & shout out "Hosanna." Maybe this Palm Sunday will be different. Maybe this Palm Sunday will be a moment for someone to set aside their personal pain, or hang up that allows them to worship freely in a corporate setting. Maybe this Palm Sunday, as we are singing our songs and waving our branches, we are crying out to him in anticipation that His spirit will do great things....not just in the service but in our lives! That He is indeed going to make us new!

RG
references from NRSV Bible
More Songs for Praise and Worship vol. III

Statements from Keller, part II "The Chocolate Family"

The other day we were all in the kitchen, helping Keller draw a picture. While we were talking about different colors, Ashley asked Keller "What color is Daddy's face and arms?" He thought about it for a moment and replied "Black." Of course I came back with some sarcastic remark like "I am not black!" But then Keller studied my arm and said, "Okay Daddy... you are brown!"
Then we asked him what color his arm was...but he did not answer. Instead he made this statement:
"Daddy! You are Dark Chocolate! I am Brown Chocolate! And Mommy You are Light Chocolate!"
When we asked what "kind of chocolate was Baby Kerrington, he said she "was not chocolate...she is just a baby!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Classic Blog Post IV...the final entry


Post Date: Monday, April 21, 2008
An evening under the stars


So I realize that I have not blogged in a while...so I figured that a real good embarrassing story about me should be just thing for those that are starving for a little "Ryan Gage Humor!"
This past weekend I was honored to perform with the local symphony for a fundraiser dinner for the community college. The location was wonderful. It was at the community college campus which is slightly hidden from the main road surrounded by trees and small lakes, etc... So, since the theme of the event was "Americana" I was asked to sing "God Bless the USA" and a Tribute to the Armed Forces.
Of course, I was feeling pretty good about the song selections. And I decided to wear a striking Red shirt with black slacks...which some say that color combo is considered power colors... So the they introduce me for the first song! Overall it went well and of course the crowd really enjoyed it. But then it went downhill from there.
I forgot to mention that the stage area was this huge white tent that was anchored into the concrete by these huge screws and cables. So there were cables and connections everywhere (by this point you where this is going). As I was leaving the stage with excitement, I was not paying attention to the walking path to leave the stage. The next thing I know, my foot was caught on one of those stupid tent cables....and of course I go flying face first into the ground!
Believe it or not, there is some good news to this! I tripped behind a huge speaker wall, so the majority of the crowd did not see me fall. However, the bad news is that there was one table of financial donors sitting at the last table of the front row, which was positioned just right so that they could see me make my shameful stumble to the ground. Of course there were the classics responses of "ooo" and "ouch." Then there was the classy lady that clearly had paid one to many trips to the bar. As she knocked over three wine bottles on the table to see me rolling in the grass, she replies, "Looks like someone borrowed some of our magic sauce girls!" which followed by the classic drunk dirty smokers laugh(You know what I am talking about)!
For those of you wondering, I walked away from the situation with no physical injuries...but emotional it sucks to be laughed at...especially when you finished a great accomplishment. And what are the lessons learned from this experience? 1. I personally need to stop laughing at other people! 2. Drunk people really can not be much help! So whatever you do...when you trip on something...the goal is to fall with grace, quickly pick yourself up, and smile until your cheeks hurt!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Classic Blog Post III

Post Date: Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Attention Passengers...we are Landing in Mobile!!?!!

So many of you know that this summer is my class reunion. As a good class president, I decided to return to my home roots of Oklahoma to have a planning meeting with the other officers. The meeting was great and it was good to see people again. However, my arrival almost did not happen. Picture this....
Our flight from Tampa had just taken off for Dallas, and I was settling in to take a nap. I realized that the nap was not going to happen because my mother was next to me talking up a storm (she talks a lot when she is nervous). Anyway, after a small conversation, I started to fall asleep. We had been in the air for maybe an hour when all of a sudden we hit a really big patch of Turbulence. I mean this was rocking the cabin...bad. I think we dropped a couple hundred feet. My mother was next to me doing this strange breathing pattern....but there was a lady 4 rows in front of us who just fell out in her chair as if she was "slain in the spirit" (you could tell she did not fly much). Suddenly, we hear this loud sound. As if the metal from the plane is being peeled off the engine.
The next thing we hear is from the confused Captain "Uh, Uh ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to have to make a landing in Mobile, Alabama. I will keep you informed." That was it...that was all the information he was going to give us. No comforting words at all. He could have given us a "just relax' statement or something. I knew that the plane was going down...I was going to meet my maker by crashing into the dirty Gulf of Mexico.
As we are making the quick landing, I noticed the team of emergency units waiting on the runway for us. I then thought that the engine had caught on fire. Once we were taxied to the gate...the still confused captain replies "Uh, Uh this is the captain, we are going to ask you all get off the plane with your stuff." I knew right there that this Captain really did not have his stuff together and that he must have pressed the wrong button which has now placed us all in Mobile.
So there we are in the Mobile Municipal Airport...waiting, waiting, waiting

TO BE CONTINUED

St. Patrick's Day Obsession



So, most of you know that I have a slight obsession with St. Patrick's Day! I think obsession is to strong of a word...however I think my wife might disagree with that last statement. I like to think of it as a healthy appreciation of all the things that make March 17th so special, unique and fun! However, I should probably clear the air and say that there was no drinking of green beer or ale on my part. I think there were enough people doing that! So why do I choose to celebrate this holiday?

Truth be told, it not to honor the patron saint of Ireland. As far as I can remember, I have always loved the thrill of dressing up in green and "searching for the pot of gold." (please note, I do not at my age dress up in a green suit and search for gold...even though the picture may suggest other wise!) In fact, there were some years that I would change my name for the day to "O'Ryan" just to get into the spirit of the day. As a teenager, I think I was excited about St. Patty's day because it meant that we were in the middle of spring break or we were getting close to spring break!

So how did I spend the day you may ask? If the enclosed picture is any indication, it was a wonderful day! I was able to spread some Irish cheer and humor with my AMAZING Irish accent, shared some informative facts about the Black Irish and of course there was the sparkle bow tie! I was a little sad that I did not get to do my annual interpretation of "O Danny Boy" ...but then again there is always next year!

Most of all, I celebrate days like this because it is good to laugh! And not just laugh at different stories or situations but to laugh at yourself! It is good take a moment and not be so serious! It is moments and days like this that I appreciate being a child at heart!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A baby, Grandparents, & a Mini Van....Oh My!


As you can imagine the past 3 weeks have been anything but dull in our household. The title of this entry says it best. Of course compacting several life changing events into a small window of time is familiar territory for us. For example, the week that my wife and I were getting married, we also decided to move to Dallas that same week and I was starting a new job soon after the wedding. Apparently, weddings, moving, and new jobs are all high points of stress....its amazing we are still standing! Then of course there was the birth of our son. Granted we had no control over his early arrival...however, it came just as we had moved to Florida and we were still living in a hotel because our home was not ready. With all of that, why should the birth of our daughter be any different?


PART 1 BABY: I still cannot believe that Kerrington is already 3 weeks old and did I mention how adorable she is? There are moments that we feel like first time parents all over again because her beginning is so much different from Keller's! None the less, she is precious and we praise God for her! When I look into the eyes of my children, I get so excited and humbled at the possibilities of who they will become. The likes and dislike they will have; triumphs and even heart breaks that will come their way! Even now, we are praying, as parents, that God would grant us strength and wisdom to raise these precious gifts.

PART 2 GRANDPARENTS: In addition to Kerrington's birth we have been so fortunate to have my in-laws and my mother here respectively these 3 weeks. They have been a big help and I know that Keller has had a great time keeping everyone entertained!

PART 3 MINI VAN: Yes, in the midst of all this craziness, we stepped out on faith and purchased a mini van. We are so in the parenthood crowd now! Truth be told, we had been talking about needing a different car for a while but of course the timing and the finances were not right! The Saturday before Kerrington was born, I just decided to stop into the dealership and see what kind of options they had! Needless to say, we were driving our baby girl home..as well as the rest of the family in our new van!

With all that has happened, it has naturally changed our daily routines. I have to confess and say that these past 3 weeks have created a hunger in me to be still before the Lord. Not only to stop and offer him praise for these wonderful blessings, but to stop and really hear his voice. There was a moment that I went into a small panic mode as I reflected on the reality of our new situation. It was very overwhelming! I remember praying to God to help me make sense of all that was happening...not just in the these three weeks...but as I thought about the future and of future children, ministry opportunities and whatnot. The Lord quickly reminded me of a story that author Priscilla Shirer shared in her book, "Discerning the Voice of God." In the study she talked about being on a morning jog and praying to the Lord about making sense and finding balance in her life. She was praying that God would reveal to her some answer as to finding a sense of order in her life. As she continued her jog, she began to notice the sun slowly rising and the birds beginning to sing. And she said that it was in that moment of the morning breaking that God said, If I can please all these things(creation) in motion, then surely I can restore balance to your life.

My reality is that I am chasing God and kids, too. God has indeed blessed my life with this incredible family, which has reminded me not to go it alone, but to lean on him and rest in the promise that He is with me. I know this post may sound like a ramble...and it some ways it is. But it is a raw moment that I needed to flesh out in my mind and in written form. For those of you with families, I pray that God will continue to renew you as you continue to raise your children, support your spouses, and dare to give your utmost to Him!

Classic Blog Posts part 2

Post Date: July 26, 2006
Title: Confessions from the Vegas Strip...part 1

Oh friends,
I have been for the past 10 days to a place where any one's inner freak can cry out..."I'm home!" Yes, yes I was in Las Vegas. Mind you, I was there to work at a fine arts camp...but I got plenty of free time in the evenings. There is a long list of tales I could tell, but I will try to keep it contained to 2...maybe 3 blogs.
So it was Monday evening and the temperature was at least 109 degree and the wind was blowing...making it feel like someone turned on the industrial size hair dryer. Keep in mind that the city of Vegas allows you to carry your favorite beverage of choice around the strip...so needless to say there was a wide variety of drink colors, flavors and sizes. And just to keep the record straight, I had a super large Cherry Lemonade from "Hot dog on a stick." As I was standing in front of the MGM Grand, I notice these guys on the corner, laughing, drinking and having a great time. As I watched them closer, I noticed that all three of them had a bottle of beer in one and in the other hand...they each had a 24pack. Their new name for the evening was the "Economical Drunk Luck Club" But wait, the walking continues....
I was making my way towards Caesar's Palace to visit the Celine Dion Shop... Yes I did go into her shop and it was wonderful...don't judge! I was approaching the corner of Tropicana and Vegas Blvd and from out of nowhere I see this long pink feather boa coming at me. Attached to it was this 6'3 Drag Queen, who we will call 'Princess'! So it was clear that Princess was ready for a night on the town. 'Princess' was dressed to kill and you could tell that looking good was really all that mattered to him...her...whatever. As our paths are crossing, Princess-who was making sure everyone was watching him/her- did not notice the rain gutter on the curb...therefore, she tripped and lost her footing and down she went...boa and all! And of course if a video camera had jump to see my expression...you know what it was going to be. (If not please read my previous blog "Walmart and the hot pink hover round"). As she struggles to get back in those super thick heels, she did noticed her boa had fallen into on coming traffic...and alas, a cab, limo, and double Decker tour bus all left tire marks on the lifeless fashion accessory! Dejected, Princess collects the boa and feathers and continues on her way! I quickly learn that in Vegas, life does not slow down....not even the traffic!

Going Green!


You know it's coming...the big laugh; the dirty Irish accent; the search for the pot of gold! At this point there are only 6 days left until St. Patrick's day! For those of you that are blessed to live in close proximity to me...prepare to be amazed and prepare to laugh! I have found a green sparkle bow tie...need I say more!

My blog page is officially going green...not to save the earth from global warming or climate changes...no no! The blog page is going green for the rise and return of yours truly as..."The Real Black Irish!"

I am hoping that BRAVO will pick this up as a reality show...they will take anything! HA
WARNING: this blog post or celebration is not approved by my wife in any way...she thinks it is silly...but I say, pass me a microphone so I can sing you a sweet Irish lullaby!

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Fridays...264.5 lbs. and counting!

To better understand this post you may want to reference my previous post titled "It's not about falling off the wagon...or is it?" The time has come for the wagon to be hitched back up! Since the previously mentioned post, there has been a lot that has happened in my life. And of course, I let those things stand in the way of what I needed to focus on when it came to my health and fitness and how that related to my spiritual life. To be honest, I thought that when my wife had the baby and lost her baby weight, I too, thought the sympathy baby weight I gained would just magically disappear! Alas, that is not the case, however through this life change, and the physical act of me falling on my face before the Lord, I am determined to see this process through.



A few weeks ago, I was trying to decided what to post and the Lord kept pointing me back to this bible study. In typical fashion, I thought I would come up with something better, or more funny, etc. Finally about a month ago, after I finished writing about Keller's birthday, God was leading back to this conversation and to this bible study. I remember thinking "what can I possibly say?" This was a failed attempt and I personally did not want revisit it. Once again I was reminded of His grace in my life and the Lord was quick to remind me of not just my on personal progress of this study, but of the progress of the group! More inspiration came a couple a days later when I stumbled upon a blog written by someone I knew in college. He titled his blog "No Longer that Guy" and it immediately grabbed my attention. Upon opening his blog and reading his entries, I was shocked, amazing, and inspired all at once. He decided to share his weight loss journey through his blog! It is an uplifting journey and I encourage you to take a read when you get a chance.
Through reading that blog and deep reflection, I have discovered that I cannot do this journey alone. Besides that help and leading of the Holy Spirit, I need some of that "in yo face" accountability. What I mean is that I want to hear from you....I need to hear from you. I hope that you will send me a message or call and ask me how the journey is going. Ask me about my meals, what I am learning spiritually. That beautiful picture of me at the beginning of this post is serving as my visual accountability as well. I titled this post "First Fridays" because I will post new photos and comments about this journey on the first friday of every month. For me, this is a new level of transparency....and as much as it scares me, I know that this is the best thing for me. Will you join me?

Classic Blog Posts part I

For the next few weeks I have decided to go digging through the archives of my short blog life and reprint some of my previous adventures. I would like to thank the inventor of the journal for creating a blank book for me to fill with my thoughts...however crazy they may be at times. And I would like to thank the creator of myspace who gave me my first online blogging opportunity...sorry I don't check that account much anymore. Happy Reading!

Post Date: June 6, 2006

Well friends i can official say that I am a Florida Resident. Those that know me, know that I, for reasons I can not explain, always spot people using their hover rounds for unusual things. Yes granted this invention is probably the greatest thing to hit the market...but I thought all it was used for was to drive people up and down the sidewalk, not the street, or through a drive-thru (and yes I have seen both of those).
Anyway, So there I was in the local Walmart(I am always there..just ask Heather Biddle) waiting for my Dad to check out. I was waiting by the exit door that was clearly marked "exit". I know this because I have a simple policy about doors...if it says enter you walk in, if it says exit, you walk out. But I understand that there are some people in this world who refuse to following the small, simple, basic instructions. Which brings me to the rest of the story... As I was standing there by the exit, all I could see was this flash of hot pink headed into the store on the exit side...little did she know that although the first set of doors open for her, the sensors are not universal and therefore the second door would not open for her as she continued to cruise and eventually crash right into the air tight doors. All you could hear was the screech of her tires, her small yelp, and my big laugh as I doubled over into the floor. I think the only time I laughed that hard was at Heather Biddle's New Year's Eve party, when Lindsey had a small episode with a homemade Jewish decoration (and to this day I still laugh loud and hard about that).
Back to the story...After I picked myself up out of the aisle, I thought I should at least check on the lady, but to my surprise she had quickly regained herself and headed into the store...through the correct door. Only, her front tire had a slightly different spin.
There are two lessons to be learned by this story. 1.) you should always know which doors are marked enter & exit. 2.) Never, ever, ever, doing anything embarrassing in front of me. It is clear that I would not be able to help you in any way because I would be to busy picking myself up off the floor after laughing. Just keep in mind that I am not laughing at you, I am laughing with you...who am I kidding, I am laughing at you!

RG

Friday, February 26, 2010

Parenthood 2.0

So stories like this one are suppose to be told when your baby is at least a couple a months old...not a couple of days old! But here it is anyway!
It was the Monday after the princess was born and my wife decided that she was going to go to the store with her parents...which means I was going to be home alone with 2 kids! However the Lord was gracious and showed me favor by having my good friend Andy B. drop by the house. Good news for me...maybe not good news for Andy. How hard could this be? The baby at this point just lays there and Keller will usually play with his trains, or cars, or whatever toy choice it is at that moment. This is going to be wonderful...me basking in the glow of multi children fatherhood/parenthood and being able to have a great conversation with my friend! This was multi-tasking at its best!
I forgot to mention that Keller had not been feeling like himself most of the day! We had given him some medicine and he continued to play his merry way. Once the wife and in-laws left the house, Keller begin complaining that his tummy was hurting. But of course being 4yrs old he did not want to be touched! So I began to notice he was starting to lay around on the couch and the over sized chair! I asked him if he wanted some water, so he took a sip and laid back down. So picture this: I have a baby in my right arm and a 4 year old trying to climb into that same right arm. As Keller continues to make his "I don't feel good" wining sound, I convinced him to rest his head on my left shoulder. So now the picture is set.... a negro version of some Norman Rockwell painting. And then it happened. As I heard the sound of my son yakking the entire content of his stomach onto my should and down my back I realized that I was frozen in place. As I started to move again, the yakking chaos began again! I believe the words for Andy were something like "Oh My Lord!"
I started laughing in my head because the last time I remembered Keller having an episode like this was during the Christmas production 2 years ago when we were running errands and Andy was with us and Keller yakked in the back seat of the car! I would say that Keller may be allergic to Andy but Andy has been around our house several times in between these two events! So back to the story: I handed the baby over to Andy and went into Mr. Clean mode. I got Keller calmed down and relaxed in the over sized chair. Then I had to pull out the big steam cleaner and go to town on the sofa and cushions! The good news is that both kids are doing well and Andy was not hurt in the process! HA
It was an eventful evening...and probably one I will not forget to soon. As I got ready for bed later that night, the thought came across my mind, "Welcome to Parenthood 2.0! Brace for the journey!"