Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things I've Noticed Lately

     I'm gonna preface this by saying I won't be offended in the slightest if you disagree. And I'm actually banking on the fact that you will because I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. I recently stopped attending weekend services at Rock Harbor because I got the distinct impression that all anybody was looking for when they went to church was an experience. Now I'm well aware of the fact that I tend to be old-fashioned in much of what I do and how I think, but I can't help noticing how trendy church has become. I've been going to Rock Harbor for awhile now because I really like the music and the art and the teaching and the funny preachers; and I think that's the problem.

     3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

     I've always taken these verses to be referring to non-Christians; but I see more and more that we, as believers, are also just looking to get our ears tickled. We gauge our closeness to God on our emotions and the feelings we experience. We only listen to the preachers who say what we want to hear. I think there is a more level-headed way to approach things that takes the emphasis off of what we feel and puts it where it should be: God's glory.
     The next verse tells us to be sober in all things and endure hardship. This doesn't really tie into what I'm talking about here but I like it--a lot--so I'm gonna give my two cents on it anyway.
     Be sober in all things and endure hardship. It's gonna be hard, it isn't gonna be fair; but don't let your emotions get the best of you. Be sober in all things and endure hardship.
     It's like I tell the boys I coach, and sometimes the girls: "Quit crying and suck it up."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This may be a bit negative but...

... I wanted to express my disappointment in the StrengthsFinder book/test. I mean it's neat in the sense that it gives you an idea of what you're good at, but after reading the first few chapters and then taking the test and seeing the advice they give I get the sense its all about taking the easy way out so that failure is less likely to occur. For example:
Don’t over-invest in losing causes. Your natural inclination to see the best in people and situations can create a blind spot that will keep you from moving on to more opportune situations.

     I can't see anyway of making that statement acceptable. The author implies, in the beginning of the book, that the countless hours he spent practicing basketball were wasted because he didn't make the team. What an awful attitude to have! If all we ever do is what we're good at then there's no room for growth. It's adversity that pushes us to improve. Perseverance and endurance in the face of difficulty and opposition are what makes us better people, not taking the path of least resistance.
     Maybe I missed the instructions on what we were supposed to take away from this test, but I sure hope it was just supposed to be a look at our strengths and not a comment on what we're to do with them. Because I couldn't disagree more with the majority of what I'm reading. It's gettin' me all worked up!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


     I just logged on to catch up on all the blogs and saw I haven't posted for exactly a month. To be honest, I'm sitting here and I still can't think of anything I want to write about. But I guess that's something. And as long as I'm being honest I can say I'm not the biggest fan of blogging. I understand that its a big group and we all have very different and busy schedules so blogging is a very good way of keeping in touch; but I find myself, much like right now, trying to force it. And its taking longer than usual because there are about seven gnats flying around the computer room and I've caught three but the other four are both swift and clever.
     Anyway this brings up an interesting point I've been pondering for, well, years I suppose. I like to absorb. In any group setting where more than four people are gathered I tend to sit back and soak in whatever conversation is happening. That's not to say I'm not participating. I'm just not adding anything. This may stem from growing up eight years behind three chatty sisters (I used to raise my hand at the dinner table if I wanted to say something). In high school my teachers would talk to me about not participating because I never brought books to class or took notes when they gave reviews for tests and they would give me lectures about paying attention and putting forth effort. But I got good grades because that's just how my brain works. If I take notes my brain won't remember what I wrote because it thinks, "Well it's written down now--and I could always look at it later."
     I'm not sure where this is going but it has something to do with the fact that, while I read every one of your blogs, I don't comment on them or write my own. Or how on Saturdays, I don't speak unless spoken to but I always get a lot out of the discussions. And I don't think its a self-confidence thing because, quite frankly, everything I say is solid gold. In light of that, I'm gonna bless you with one more paragraph that'll bring all this nonsense to a head.
     My dad used to read Proverbs to me before bed. Over and over. He'd finish it and then start over. And only one idea stands out in my memory from those readings: talking too much is foolish. It seemed like every night there would be some verse about how much better it is to pipe down rather than sound off. So I guess rather than keep typing I'd like to get your feedback on that idea. Because I like to absorb.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A More Deliberate Idleness

     Last week I typed about how I'm in an awkward in between stage where I don't really have anything to do but wait. The next morning I woke up to an email asking if I was interested in a position at Hoag Hospital as a Lab Assistant in the Microbiology Department. I said yes without hesitation, but fully understanding that my qualifications are...less than existent.
     Both of my phone interviews were atrocious. The HR people actually told me I should never use the answers I gave in any interview--ever. But they still put me through to an in-person interview, which I thought went well. I also learned that if by some miracle they did give me the job, I would be in way over my head.
     So I've been having a very productive, very continuous talk with God about why He's advanced me so far in this interview process, because if one thing is certain, I didn't get this far by merit. And I keep getting this nagging feeling that I have but to ask Him for the position and He'd give it to me. But I haven't. Because if the last few years have taught me anything, it's that I truly have no idea what's best for me. So I'm gonna let Him decide, and if He thinks I'd flourish there--cool. If not, well, the military is looking awfully inviting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not Much

     Not much. That's all I've really been able to say to people when they ask me what I've been up to. There is probably ten hours throughout each week during which I actually have commitments. The rest is just waiting around. At first it was pretty rad. Wake up late. Stay up late. I got to do what I wanted. But now I would kill to have a job, even if its just to fill in the empty parts of my schedule. I've applied to more places than I can remember ranging from UPS to the NBPD.
     I've had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that, while I'm called not to be idle, however hard I try the opportunities aren't coming. So I'm waiting. And I don't like that so much. But maybe that's the point...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Here and Nouwen

     To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of this book. I guess I just wasn't feeling the connection between the author's experiences and my own. He was, or is, a far more emotional person than I am. But with that being said, the idea of living in the present has been weighing on me lately(as my last blog mentioned). And although Nouwen only really focused on that for one chapter, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time I needed to hear it.
     My life has no direction. This consumes my thoughts. I've been going to college off and on for the last four years without any real purpose. It feels like I'm spinning my wheels. So, to continue the metaphor, I find myself worried about when I'll finally get traction and take off. At the moment I'm unemployed, I dropped out of school again, and I've lost the ability to do the one thing that has always been a constant in my life, sports. There really isn't anything about the present I care to focus on; I'm just waiting for a job, waiting to heal, waiting to move out, waiting for motivation to set in.
     So it's been a struggle to focus on where I am instead of where I want to be. But in doing so I've been more driven to make the most of the little things that happen throughout the day. That's what I've taken away from Nouwen's book more than anything.
     But, unless I missed it, Nouwen forgot one crucial part to living in the moment: where that moment lies in eternity. We were made to last forever. And while Today is all we have, if Today is not viewed in the backdrop of Forever then we've missed the point. I've only ever been motivated by the temporal rewards to what I'm doing. I want a job because I have bills to pay. I want to play volleyball to win and have fun doing it. I want to move out for the freedom. What I should be focusing on is the eternal implications are of my activities. I need to work because My Master says I need to be productive to the society He put me in. I need to play sports to bring glory to The One who gave me the ability to excel at them; my joy  in playing brings Him joy. Every day I have, and every thing I do in that day must be for the right reasons--the everlasting reasons. Unfortunately I'm a bit of an idiot, so God had to physically break me to get me to slow down and realize I had it all wrong.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


     I just watched the Orbiter with Chris and I really like what was said about satisfaction. It is really hard for me to be content with where I am and it seems like I'm always thinking about what's next or what I could have done differently in the past.
     Most of my preoccupation with times outside of the present stems from my desire to make the most of opportunities. But in my attempt to live life fully my mind gets in the way. I look to the past at all the things I wish I had done. I look to the future and worry about missing out. Inevitably I miss the present.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


     So I started to actively participate in church communities and events in the last year or so. Before I was more concerned about my own life to really get involved in others' lives. It's been a pretty cool experience and I can see why God asks us to live life with others rather than going solo.
     That being said I have a bit of a bone to pick with how church culture tends to play itself out. I'm not a fan of the forced feeling that many "fellowship sessions" tend to give off. I understand that if we don't schedule time out to pray and communicate that it probably won't happen; but at the same time I find the best discussions I have with other Christ-followers about the Kingdom happen on their own in a natural setting. Between the many groups and studies I've been attending it's started to feel like a chore.
     Now maybe this is because I'm naturally a little restless and it's hard for me to sit and talk for too long in one place, but sometimes I get tired of all the talking we do. I don't want to sit around and discuss loving others. I want to do it. I don't want to talk for hours about being bold and reaching out. I want to practice it.
     Then again this might just be where I am at the moment. But I really feel like I've been called to throw out all the curriculum and start in on the application.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Pretty Frustrating

     I'm gonna apologize in advance for yet another post about sports. They've been a big part of my life. They kept me out of trouble in high school. They taught me about hard work and discipline. It brings me great joy to run around and play. Anything. I just want to play.
     Today was the last day of my physical therapy and I've gone through quite a bit of pain to get healthy and I would say my knees are 80%. I dunked for the first time in almost two years today while helping out with the varsity program at Harbor. It was a pretty joyous moment for me. So when I came down on a girl's foot the next play and went home on crutches with a severe high ankle sprain I was pretty bummed.
     Sure it hurt. Sure its a hassle to get around. But more than anything I'm just plain bummed. I miss being able to play.
     I suppose there's a silver lining in the sense that now I won't be tempted to play for the next few weeks and my knees will finish healing. The Lord knows it would take something this drastic to keep me off the court. Maybe He's using it as a teaching method. I don't know. I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason and I can't see where being upset with Him would help anything. But it really took the wind out of my sails.
     I don't have any deep thoughts or anything powerful to say about the podcasts or our discussions this week. And now that I'm reading over the post it sounds super whiny--so sorry about that. It just feels good to type this stuff out.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bilateral Patellar Tendonitis

     I've been jumping for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was always trying to touch the top of the doorway. Then it was the ceiling. Then the exit signs at school. The basketball rim. Touching my head to the net. Dunking with a tennis ball. Dunking with a basketball. Jumping was the main reason I chose volleyball as the sport I'd focus on most. Problem is: stretching and warming up wasn't something I liked as much.
      Volleyball plays last maybe seven seconds. As a middle blocker I would jump anywhere from two to six times within that seven seconds. Every jump was 36 inches up and 36 down--right on my knees. Because I didn't stretch and warm up, my quads are now fused to the fibrous tissue that runs the length of my thigh. This inflexibility makes my kneecap track improperly and puts strain on my tendon.
     Now I go to physical therapy twice a week and they use different tools and leverage points to stretch that fibrous band and separate it from my quadriceps. The best way I can describe is like when you have a knot in your shoulders and you have a friend rub it out. Except it's fifty or sixty times worse. But when it's over my legs feel amazing and I find that I am rapidly healing. I should be able to play again in a few weeks.
      What a wonderful analogy for my soul. God draws me near to him. I use His gifts He's given me to a certain extent but I don't take the time to seek Him and invest in our relationship. My spirit contracts a chronic ache; poor decisions cause moments of acute suffering. I go to the Doctor and He calls me out on how I haven't properly cared for what He's given me. Spiritual therapy begins and it sucks, but I come out better each time. Sometimes I slip and "play on it". Doc works me over extra hard next appointment not only to put me back on track but to help the problem.
      Now my soul has a spring in its step again. But it took the pain of therapy to ultimately heal it.

Friday, January 28, 2011


     After reading the post on noise and looking over everybody's responses I realized that I lead a fairly quiet, noise-free life. I never had any thought about quiet time being wasted time. My television set doesn't get any stations. I don't own anything with an "i" in front of it. Nothing I possess requires me to have earbuds in my head. My phone isn't smart. All these things came to my attention as I thought about how little distractions I have. Of course I like to listen to music and watch movies, but I'm not plugged into some device all day like the freshman on my basketball team are. So after a few days of meditating on the idea of noise and simplicity, and feeling good about myself for not being distracted, a different issue I have came to mind: my motivation.
     I'm not the most motivated individual. A successful life for me looks like a couple of kids, a happy wife, and a few projects that never seem to be finished. To be honest I always looked up to Hank Hill. He takes pride in what he does and he does it well, even if that's selling propane and propane accessories. And for him, a good time is standing behind his house with his buddies drinking cheap beer. I've never felt a drive to be exceptional and the idea of being wealthy is actually a bit appalling. Being the best I can be and trying my hardest will always be enough to keep me content. But I'm not always my best. I have a hard time really pushing myself to try my hardest. And as I was giving my team an extremely motivational half-time speech about hustle and hard work, I realized I need to take my own advice.
     And then reading the first part of Nouwen's book about living in the moment reinforced the idea that I need to focus on what I'm doing and do it with my might. Plus I've been reading a book about John Wooden which has really called me out on my laziness. Wooden is another man I look up to, more so than Mr. Hill in fact.
     So that's what has been on my mind this week; here's hoping I respond with tenacity.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


     My name's Ryan and I was born on August 15 of 1989 into a family that included two parents and three sisters who's ages were, at the time, eight, ten, and twelve. Having three older sisters--or four moms if you'd like to look at it that way--has been exceedingly influential on my social development. I learned from a young age not to take myself too seriously; and that if you leave the dinner table and don't take your food with you, it won't be the same as when you left.
     At the moment I am employed only as a coach: Frosh/Soph girls basketball at Newport Harbor and both boys and girls volleyball at Mariners Christian(across from rockharbor). I also lead a small group of freshman boys at a church called Crossline. I apologize in advance if I do anything immature in the next eight months; please keep in mind I spend more time with 12-16 year olds than people my own age.
     There aren't too many other notable things about me that come to mind. I go to OCC where I am majoring in math. I play an excessive amount of sports but volleyball is my favorite. And I like to be outside, preferably in the mud.
     I don't have a specific reason for joining Circles. The only expectation I have coming into it is to come out better than when I started. Darin's beard was a deciding factor. My goal in life is to be able to say the same things on my deathbed that Paul said on his: "I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith." And I see Circles as an opportunity to help me to do those things.