Monthly Archives: January 2008

Tablet Action

Okay, so the church studio has taken off and brought in some funds so that the media wing of the church can buy some new equipment that will aid us expanding our capabilities.

In other words, we bought a Wacom tablet pen. I love it. I want one of my own to bring home with me and make cartoon versions of everyone.

This one is unfinished (no shadowing and such), but took less than an hour.

Unfinished Shari 'Toon

I used this old one as a reference in Photoshop…

Eyes

Seriously, I won’t be able to rest until I get one of these things. *whimper*

Cool, no?

Dad’s Prayer

Remember the post in which I recounted the story of my Dad praying at Bobby Jindal’s inauguration, accompanied by a few pictures?

No?

Oh, well. Here’s the video (finally). It was finally sent in to us.

Licensed

I am now an officially licensed minister of the UPCI. I don’t have the license in hand yet (it takes several months to be sent from St. Louis), but just call me “Reverend.”

Actually, please don’t call me Reverend. Or Rev. Or Revvy. Or Ringo Starr

I woke up at 5:00 AM Monday morning, after having taken in just 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I left my house at 6:00 and printed off some essay questions at church. I left the church just before 7:00 AM, causing me to arrive at the district office in Tioga, Louisiana at 9:00 AM.

Then the seminars began. Keep in mind, they were very good, but there were seven of them. In a row.

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Then we took a diagnostic test and was given a break from 4:15 to 6:00, when the District Board would begin accepting the applicants face-to-face, one at a time. I wasn’t hungry, so I returned at 5:00 and sat to wait my turn. I waited until 10:45 PM, but don’t think that I just sat in my chair silently. We talked, laughed, and for some reason I became delirious at about 6:30, and that lasted until I was called in.

As soon as I was called in, the joking stopped. I became straight-faced, started sweating (like usual), and the cough that I hadn’t been bothered by for most of the day suddenly returned. It wasn’t that bad. I won’t go into details, because 99.9999% of the people that stop by this blog (how does that percentage work when only about 6 people visit) wouldn’t get some of the references to the people involved and the jokes wouldn’t be funny. So I won’t bore you with that…

Just after 11:00 PM, I started on my way home. I thought I’d be exhausted, but for some reason I had just enough energy to make it home and collapse in bed with my wife and dog at 1:15 AM, Tuesday morning.

I spent 20 hours traveling, listening, sitting, and sweating. Strangely enough, it was all worth it. It’s taken me four years to make the decision to finally get licensed, but now that I’ve been through the experience, I’m not sure why I didn’t do it earlier. I love the UPC. My parents and both sets of grandparents are UPC ministers. I attend UPC meetings several times a year. Many of my closest friends are UPC as well.

So like a friend of mine, Derek Parker, asked: why enjoy all the benefits of the UPCI and not support it? Some of my other friends can build up an argument against it, most likely, but after praying and thinking about it (not to mention talking to my mentors), I feel like I’ve made the right decision.

In my opinion, the two greatest things that the UPCI does are unite men and women who share a common doctrine and passion, and provide a means by which missionaries all around the globe are financed, supported, and empowered. The UPC has been good to me, and it’s nice to be a part of it.

Day 4

Today marks my fourth straight day of exile. I have been lurching groggily through the chambers of Castle Dean.

I first started feeling weak on Wednesday afternoon. I was coughing a bit, feeling stuff, and knew what was coming. Thursday I went to my first class, then skipped the next two to go home and rest. By that time I was feeling like a zombie and coughing hard. Friday was an all-out assault against my immune system. Coughing up phlegm, vomiting, fever, and stuffy…symptoms of a healthy lad.

Yesterday I finally felt a bit better, so I accompanied my mom last night as she picked up Shari from the airport for me. Mistake. By the time I got in bed, I realized that I was in for a long night. Sure enough, I woke up this morning feeling worse than I have this entire time.

Word of wisdom for the afflicted: DON’T RUSH THINGS!

So tonight I’m going to sit at home and try to watch church online (at http://www.POBC.cc), wishing I was there. I could really use a good service.

It’s when I’m sick and staying by myself that I start reflecting a bit too much. When you’re sick for any prolonged period of time, it’s easy to think negative thoughts. I’m a pessimist by nature anyways, so being sick gives me plenty of time to assess all of my weaknesses and the many goals that I set for myself that I haven’t reached.

This isn’t a plea for pity; far from it, in fact. I think most people have two sets of goals. First, they have the attainable goals that they share with others and expect to achieve with minimal difficulty. Second, they have the lofty goals that will likely take months or years to fulfill, and they rarely share these goals with others. I think I’ve set a few too many of the lofty variety.

That being said, there’s always a point when I’m swept around by the misery that suddenly I “come to myself.” This is where I’m beating myself up over not having reached a particular expectation. Usually I wind up praying and apologizing to God for taking my sweet time. Then suddenly it’s as if the burden of responsibility is lifted for a moment while God says in a not-so-audible but distinct way, “It’s okay. You’re getting there, and I’m here with you through it all.”

When I first prayed through, I couldn’t shake the depression that had been part of my life for years. A friend of mine reminded me of a scripture, Psalm 34:18, that says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (NKJV).

For years I’ve found that to be true. When I’m at my absolute worst and so overly self-critical that I can barely shake myself out of this pitiful mood, or when I’ve been attacked with no end in sight, I’ve thrown myself at that scripture, and I promise you it’s worked every single time. I pray it. I “remind” God of it. And every single time, the weight is lifted. It’s not gone, exactly, but the heaviness becomes manageable and I can see a glimmer of hope.

I think that’s why the most captivating expression that I can see in the life of a Christian is compassion. When someone is going through a painful time, it should hurt us. When someone is sick, we should be moved by empathy into action.

Perhaps we’re most like God when we cast aside the callousness that this world generates within us all and find it within ourselves to hurt when another hurts, and to give them what is perhaps the hardest thing to see when person finds his or herself alone: hope.

I didn’t mean to turn this post into a sermon. I guess that’s just what happens when your heart is at church but your body is filled with Aleve Cold & Sinus and Chloraseptic.

Mum

I don’t consider myself to be a “mama’s boy,” but I’ve been severely pampered the past few days, while I’ve been sick. My poor mother has gone from house to house, accompanying a grandson to testing, taking care of her husband (kidney stone), and visiting her flu-stricken son.

Dad has no doubt been inconvenienced the most, having to live with a massive amount of pain the past few days, but Mom has made no fewer than three stops at my house during the past 24 hours, making sure her youngest has either some soup or Starbucks. Spoiled rotten? Indeed.

There’s something about a mother who has completely relented to her instinctive nurturing nature. She would absolutely wear herself to death before letting one of her offspring (or husband) suffer without a bit of coddling.

I just figured I’d comment on that really quickly. I’m going back to sleep. Again.

Sick!

That would be me.

I’ve been lying either on my bed or my couch for the past 24 hours. I have whatever it was that my wife had last week. It’s a mixture of coughing (phlegm included), severe weakness, achey pain all over the body, fever, a sinus infection, and, in my case, a bit of vomiting.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time. I’m very busy, and we have a special youth night scheduled for Sunday night, which we call uNight. I’m supposed to sing and speak, but unless things change for the better very quickly, I don’t see any way I can do that. I can’t even muster up the energy to go get the mail outside.

My dad just had surgery this morning to remove a kidney stone (yeah…ouch). He’s been in severe pain for several days, and I’m glad to see that this little episode is finally over. He said that he’d rather die than have another one of those things, but he says that any time he gets really sick. “Ryan, I was lying there on the bed, praying that God would go ahead and just take me.”

And people wonder where I get my exaggeration skills.

Additionally, a member of my family underwent some tests a few days ago. I’m not sure if they’d feel comfortable with me disclosing any information on who it is, so I won’t, but please be in prayer for my family. Shari is still sick, from what I can tell on the phone as well. She’s coming back tomorrow.

For those of you who have left a voicemail, Email, or text message and are wondering what’s taking me so long to get back to you, I apologize. I’m very backed up and I don’t know when I’m going to feel up to writing out 15 Email responses and texting 10 or so people back. As a matter of fact, I’m going back to sleep right now.

Romney Gets Punk’d by Son

My friend Brad showed me this video of Mitt Romney getting punked by his son.

I thought it was pretty funny. Enjoy.

When the Wife’s Away…

…the husband will play?

No, not exactly.

The husband will sit in silence, prepare his message for youth service, and hope to God that he’s (the husband) not leaving something off his schedule that he should be remembering.

The husband will accidentally fall asleep reading on the couch and wake up at 4:35 AM. The dog’s sleep cycles will be thrown off by this and will actually remain in bed past 6:30 AM without waking up her master by licking him in the face in order to use the restroom.

The husband will have no one to talk to, even though he says very little in the first place. The husband will be thrown off by this and will speak to the dog as if she was a human. The dog will look at the husband as if he is crazy. The dog will then bite his hand in protest.

The husband will wake up cold in the morning, alone in the bed except for the dog, who seems to be freezing as well.

The husband will plan to use the extra silence at night to study. Instead, he reads for a few moments and decides to eat his second dinner of the night. Evidently Cinnamon Toast Crunch isn’t as filling when it’s a full “meal.” He will then proceed to copy old CDs to his iTunes library. He will not find this to be as captivating as he envisioned.

The husband will write an overly-sappy blog post that subtly laments the fact that he won’t see his wife for another three days.

The husband hopes you get the point.

I Had A Dream!

Not the noble, Martin Luther King kind, but a dream nonetheless. I’ve figured out that I only dream in two situations:

1. While taking a quick catnap.

2. When I wake up in the morning, but realize I have another 30 minutes two an hour before I actually have to wake up, so I go back to sleep.

Today it was a #2 (don’t go there, sicko). Shari left for Michigan today…*whimper*…and I think knowing that she was leaving caused me to stir a bit more than I normally would when she woke up at like 6:30. I think I said bye and tried to get a hug or something, but I’m not sure. Apple and I just went right back to sleep.

So I have this dream that Tim Duncan, NBA superstar, is beating his girlfriend up. How I stumbled across this, I don’t know, but it’s a dream so my mind makes up its own universe. I got so mad at Tim that I pushed him and said something brilliant like, “Hey! What are you doing?”

Dream-world Ryan must have forgotten that Tim Duncan is 6’11”, 260 lbs. So Tim turns around, away from his battered girlfriend, and glares at me.

Okay, pause for a moment. When Tim Duncan stares at a ref, it’s the most intimidating thing I’ve ever seen. Imagine that I’m like every NBA ref combined. This is how Tim Duncan looked at me.

Luckily, there was a plugged-in iron that just happened to be plugged in behind me. I don’t know if I was in a hotel room or something, but I reached back, grabbed the iron, and applied it with heavy pressure at the rapidly-approaching Duncan. Dream-world Ryan smelled the burning flesh and watched in horror as his favorite basketball player’s face melted in front of him.

It was disgusting. It was horrible. It made absolutely no sense.

And that was the end of the dream. I have no idea why our minds work the way they do. How weird…

As you can tell, I didn’t feel like posting about political or tech junk today.

Steve Jobs: Cuddly Pumpkin-Bear

Jobs Lego

From Apple Insider:

BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows wrote a story a month ago that said Apple wouldn’t be able to get Sony and Universal to go along with an iTunes Store movie rental plan. Well, Burrows was wrong, and the two companies were definitely on board by the time Jobs delivered his yearly MacWorld keynote.

But Jobs is gracious, right? He wouldn’t rub it in when he saw Burrows, right? Well…

Jobs greeted Burrows by by saying, “Well, I guess your story looks pretty dumb.”

That wasn’t a question, by the way. And knowing Jobs, it probably wasn’t a joke either.