Monday, February 28, 2011

Featuring: Robyn

Editors Note: Meet my sister-in-law, Robyn. She has many stories to tell but for the purpose of this feature, would like to discuss how she has overcome certain challenges that life endowed her with from birth. Robyn hopes to be an encouragement to you and has made it clear to me that she invites persons to make contact with her if they wish. Whether or not you actually deal with a similar physical challenge, you will certainly be able to relate to life’s hard knocks as she tells her story. Through it all she has not only prevailed and improved personally but she often takes the time necessary to reach out to others. One such recent effort has been through an online connection established on Facebook. She has been boldly sharing her Christian belief's with this contact and doing what she can to answer questions & objections. We talked at length about this in the original footage of her video. However she asked me afterwards to cut that segment so as to keep this person anonymous and preserve the integrity of the sincere dialog that is taking place. This humble spirit is one of many reasons that I gladly highlight Robyn in this week’s Feature Post!

Robyn's Bio

I was born march 14th 1978 in Denver, Colorado. I was the second of two girls.

I was born with a very rare yet non hereditary birth defect commonly known as PFFD  which stands for Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency. (I guess you can see why people call it PFFD).  My condition was so rare at the time I was born and diagnosed with it that only 1 in 100,000 cases where documented. I am sure that statistic has grown since then.

I’d like to take a moment and just share exactly what PFFD is. Having this condition basically means that I was born missing the upper portion (femur part of my left leg). When I was three yrs old my orthopedic doctor decided to amputate my left leg and fitted me with a prosthetic limb. I still remember being in the hospital and many details of the days and weeks surrounding the procedure.
I also remember the first time I had to walk with my “new leg”.   It was interesting to say the least.

During childhood I do remember feeling different and that at times made me frustrated.   But my parents always made sure to treat me as normally as possible and let me do things for myself as often as was possible. I am truly grateful for that. I am also grateful that I was raised in a strong Christian Home where I always knew that God was there for me. The older I've become the more I can see that The Lord never gives you anything you can’t handle. In recent years I've begun to understand that perhaps God has allowed me to experience this Physical Challenge to bring him Glory . I am still in the process of discovering how God is working in my life but one thing I do know is that He has already worked many miracles! And I know he will continue to do so.  Not because I deserve it but because He gracious. I am humbled by how He has walked by my side through all of my ups and downs regarding my PFFD. I know He will continue to walk with me and I am excited to see where He will lead.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 07

Category: Kids

Instructions: Vote on your favorite photo of these six in the right margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed. Winner: Yoda Stare

Breakin' Babies
I'm in hot water NOW!
iCostume Win
Teething Nightmare
My parents take Taco Tuesdays too far!

Who you lookin' at?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coming Soon!

Stick figure pregnancy
So my wife is 35 weeks pregnant expecting our 3rd child.  Claiming she is ready for his arrival is an understatement.  She is at the stage where every position she sits or stands in is uncomfortable.  She has to take breaks and sit down just to catch her breath after brushing her teeth.  Her appetite, sleep, body, and daily tasks have been sabotaged by the symbiotic relationship pregnancy demands.  So its very understandable why she might be ready to move forward.

But for guys/dudes/dads...its different.  We haven't had to suffer through the morning sickness, the aches, pains, sleeplessness, the appetite changes, the swelling, the fatigue, and the growing belly.  Ok...well I might have put on a few pounds of sympathy weight but that's not the point.  Dads are happy as can be that our little tike is baking in the oven and not yet in NEED of anything.  Our desire to expedite his or her arrival isn't nearly so urgent.  In fact...we men often just begin worrying and sweating bullets when the due date draws near.  With our date fast approaching at the end of next month, inspiration hit...and the following video was born.  Pun intended!

Be sure to watch until the end for some outtakes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grown Children

I am a kid a heart.  I normally don't apologize for it either.  Embracing the child within keeps me young and in touch with a former innocence that is so easily lost in the daily hum-drum of adult life.  So I play video games with Michael, Tea Party with Mackenzie, and collect Star Wars toys...well, just because.  Perhaps living in this way to some degree is exactly what Scripture means in Matthew 18:3  where is says:

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

However, I am quite certain that my child-like reaction to what I might call a very bad day yesterday is NOT what Jesus had in mind as he was encouraging us to hold onto our innocence! adult temper tantrum is every bit as bad...nay, certainly worse than one coming from an actual toddler.  I didn't quite take it that far thankfully but I did decide to react very poorly to a series of events that occurred at work.  For lack of a better description and in the spirit of self deprecation you might say I pouted for the rest of the day.  I also delivered a diatribe or two of my woes to the ears of those that had nothing to do with causing my bad day.  And despite my best efforts I let this wonderful attitude of mine leak into my evening and put it on full display for my children to observe.

Not one of my proudest moments!

Monday, February 21, 2011

PC or JC?

If you are anything like I was in my early twenties, you might hold to the politically correct view that ALL spiritual paths lead to God.  Each has their own unique style, dogma, methodology, and name for The Creator but unwittingly they are all on the same journey and will eventually arrive at the desired destination.  You would not be alone to think so.  Even Oprah espouses such ideological fantasy.  But it doesn't take much investigation or serious searching for truth to find out what a fallacy such an notion holds.  It sounds like a great concept but that is all it truly is...great SOUNDING.

World religions teach very different concepts and tenants.  One group can claim 2 and 2 equal 4 while the next claims 2 and 2 equal 5 and any outsider can identify a problem.  One group might be right while the other is wrong or perhaps BOTH groups are wrong.  BUT there is no way that both groups can be correct.  Like it or not absolutes exist despite the modern day push for relativism.  Mathematics would not be possible or even helpful to us if 2 plus 2 had more than one answer.

So when a person searches for answers and comes to investigate Christ, its no wonder He fails the political correctness tests.  On one hand it boggles my mind that anyone would take offense to a man that SO loved the world that He laid down His own life as the ultimate expression of that love.  But on the other hand He predicted just that kind of reaction in Matthew 10. And again in 1 Peter Jesus is referred to as a Stone of Stumbling, a Rock of Offense.  The question is why?  Why would a man that preached love to such an extreme be offensive?  Be a stumbling stone?  Or cause families to divide over whether or not to follow Him?

Perhaps its in part due to some of His exclusive claims.  In this world of relativism and all paths lead to Rome, how dare someone claim to be:  THE way, THE truth, THE life and then go on to say NO ONE comes to The Father but by me!  The world might better embrace Jesus if He had claimed to be a way, a truth, or a path to God.  But He didn't leave us any room for that did He?  So what do many people do?  They will claim that they really like many of Jesus' teachings about the poor and giving oneself to others but somewhere along the way they draw a firm line.  I can get behind the guy up to THIS point but no further.  Scripture illustrates that concept with the rich young ruler in Luke.  This man had kept all the commandments and had an impeccable record for serving God.  But when He asked Christ what he lacked, Jesus challenged him to actually give EVERYTHING.  Being a very rich man, he found this request impossible and sadly walked off.  Christ had identified this man's personal line of no return.

I know.  I've been there and done all of that.  I am not so far removed from those times that I cannot remember how justified I felt in my anger over the exclusive claims of Christianity.  But how exclusive are they?  Did Jesus come and die just for a few or for ALL people?  The following video challenges us to rethink how we look at this "exclusive" faith:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 06

Category: Signs

Intructions: Vote on your favorite photo of these six in the top left margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to cast your vote.

Alcohol Warning
Honest Traffic Sign
Live what for the deaf?
Senior Warning
Lost in translation
It apparently happens often enough to warrant a warning sign.  Who knew?

Monday, February 14, 2011

My P31

When Bob first called his wife, Tiffany, his P31...I was confused.  I thought it might have something to do with his P90X workouts or something.  Noting the look on my face, Bob explained that his wife was a Proverbs 31 woman and that was a nickname of sorts for her.  With my interest peaked I had to go look up the passage.  Sure enough, in brilliant description and prose, are the details of a woman beyond compare.

Verses 10 through 31 describe her as one who is:
  • More precious that jewels
  • Has her husbands complete trust
  • Makes her husband feel as though he lacks nothing
  • Does good for her family
  • Shares the workload
  • Provides nourishment for the family
  • Strong both physically and spiritually
  • Generous with what she has
  • An example of dignity
  • Has a great sense of humor
  • Guards her words being careful to speak kindly of others
  • Shows great wisdom
  • Does not act lazily
  • Takes care of the household and family
  • Blessed and praised often by her husband and children
  • Surpasses the average woman
  • Fears, respects, and loves The Lord
I can without question proclaim that my wife is also a P31 woman!  She is amazing and I've known from very early on that God hand picked her just for me.  Why I deserve such a blessing is beyond me.  In fact, I really don't.  But my Father in heaven quite often blesses us well beyond what we deserve.  In fact, that is why the Gospel is called The Good News.  If we got what we deserved I can guarantee you the news would not be good or even just alright. 

So while Valentines Day is a made up holiday to bolster Greeting Card sales (or so the theory goes)...take the time to join me today in singing the praises of the P31's of this world!  I simply could not do life without mine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 05

Category: Valentines

Intructions: Vote on your favorite photo of these four in the top left margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to cast your vote.
Cupid Down
The Love Bug
Valentine Beer
Gaming Proposal

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hang Time Founder, Pastor Mike

Editors Note: I have two pastors in my life that go by Mike. This is the one that performed the marriage ceremony for Rachael and I...not the one that is currently my pastor at CBC.  The following is a biography written by Mike in effort to give you some background on his journey and his story.  This is the kind of guy I could feature on the blog multiple times with multiple areas of focus.  But this go-round, we especially want to highlight a new ministry called Hang Time.  Through a recent career change Mike has been exposed to a desperate need in the lives of young student within the LISD system.  And in seeing the need he has prayerfully responded. 

Mike’s Biography

I was born on December. 3, 1972 in Chicago, IL, the younger of two brothers to be adopted only five months later into the home of my parents, Ellis and Helen Ryherd. My father was a preacher and my mother was always home.

Growing up in the Midwest, my brother and I aspired to be professional football players. Although this never happened, we each played some college ball went on to pursue graduate degrees.

In 1995, while at the University of Northern Iowa, I married my wife Trish. Soon after, we moved to Springfield, Missouri, where I attended seminary while working at a church. Our first of three daughters, Ashley, arrived in 1997, and in June of 1998, we moved to Texas where I pastured two churches while attending Southern Methodist University.

I received my Master of Divinity from SMU in May of 2000, but not before celebrating the birth of our second daughter Payton in August of 1999. My wife actually went into labor with her on the way home from a Ranger’s game.

In May of 2000, I was appointed as an Associate Pastor of Trietsch UMC in Flower Mound, Texas. My responsibilities included organizing and conducting an ultra-contemporary service on Saturday nights called Turning Point. After the very first Turning Point service, within twenty-four hours, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our third daughter Hailey.

While on staff at Trietsch, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I requested a move to a position in which I would have more flexibility to travel to her. I was appointed pastor of the UMC Church in Valley View, Texas. My mother died nine days before the move.

Our stay in Valley View was fifteen months. In 2004, I took a position with a church in The Colony, Texas as an Associate Pastor at Calvary Christian Center. In 2006, I began working at Durham Middle School, where I currently coach boys’ athletics.

In October of 2010 I received the phone call of a lifetime. A young woman named Sarah announced to me that she was my younger sister. After a long pause, she said the words, “We have been looking for you.” The word “We” contained the bigger news. After nearly thirty-eight years of being the baby of my family, I was the second oldest of twelve. Thanksgiving weekend of 2010 my older brother Kevin and I (as well as my daughter Ashley) made a trip to West Virginia to meet six siblings for the first time. 2011 will have to be awful special to provide the wonder that 2010 brought my way.

At the current time, I am beginning a Christian-based nonprofit called HangTime. HangTime exists to bring Christian men of character into the lives of young men (grades 4-12) for lunch once a month at their school. Our organization collaborates with churches, schools, and local businesses to provide this experience. Currently, the Chick Fil A on Main Street in Lewisville, Texas is providing meals for both students and HangTime mentors at Durham, and possibly more campuses will be served by this store. Six campuses within the LISD are either hosting our program, or in consideration. We have programs beginning in Iowa as well. Ultimately, we believe this program has the power to impact young men in a powerful way… and the power to impact our mentors equally.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Reset Button

There isn't much in life we WANT to redo.  Forward progress is how we live on this linear plane of ours.  Even when really good times are experienced our natural inclination is to remember them fondly but not necessarily desire to go back.  And the bad times, though we'd like never to repeat them end up being part of what shapes us into who we've become.  So while those memories are not fond or worthy of repeat...we tend to admit going through it had some practical value.

Thus far, Doc Brown hasn't actually built a flying Delorean capable of harnessing 1.21 gigawatts to send us pondering a reset button is usually the stuff of fantasy or video games.  HOWEVER...I cannot help but feel like my wife and I are actually achieving just that with her pregnancy and fast approaching due date.  Having been there and done this with twins that are now five we both experience flashbacks of pure joy and pure terror.  It really is a strange mixture of emotion.

One moment I am very excited to meet the fifth member of our tribe.  The next, I am recounting the sleepless nights, the mountains of dirty diapers, and all the once tackled development hurdles having to be tackled all over again.  Its in those moments that my stomach flutters as if plummeting down the first hill of The Texas Giant @ Six Flags! 

Am I really doing this again? 

Do I need to have my sanity checked? 

Can I afford college tuition for even one out of three children?

But before the bus pulls into Panic Station I pause and remember some pretty miraculous facts.  You see, Rachael and I had to see a fertility specialist just to bring any children into this world.  This child is the last of thirteen frozen embryos that have been in storage for five and a half years.  We had the doctor over a period of several years implant all thirteen in segments of three at a time.  The first round resulted in twins.  The very last round resulted in ONE heartbeat.  For all the heartache of the failed attempts, all the medical procedures, poking, prodding, pleading, prayer, emotional anguish, and financial burdens...God granted us a chance to hit the reset button. the chance of a matter how scary.

Monday, February 07, 2011

I want to FEATURE you!

So...I have an idea that I need your help in getting off the ground. Each week on my blog I want to feature a different person in my life. Depending on the amount of participation I may even post two features per week in addition to the normal content.

And while I want to help with edits or possibly even get you on video (if you are local and willing) I will mostly be letting YOU tell YOUR story. You might want to tell your testimony, you might want to tell us about a particular crazy event in your life, or you may want to highlight what you do for a living. I really don't have a particular theme that you must fit in order to qualify.

I have several of you already in mind for this, so even IF response is minimal, I might be contacting you soon and putting you on the spot. Depending on who you are and what you want to talk about I may even give readers and viewers a preview of the next guest so that questions can be asked of them ahead of time. For instance, I know many atheists from YouTube that would have a slew of questions of one of my pastors.

Like all of my ideas, I am not sure if this will go anywhere or what kind of interest people will have. But let's give it a try! Reply to this post if you have any interest. Again...if you are local I might even want to do some video work with you. If you are not local, I might be able to some audio but most likely text or have you shoot a video of your own for me to post.

FIRST UP for a Wednesday post is....Mike Ryherd. In this edition we are just going to highlight a new ministry that he's getting off the ground called Hang Time and tell you a little bit about his life in general. I may do a secondary post asking Mike specific questions from you guys as be sure to ask a few in response to this.

Basic info on Mike if you don't already know him:
  • Has Pastored several churches but currently coaching football at Durham Middle School
  • Has a passion for apologetics and discussion of creation theory vs. evolution
  • Is partly responsible for the marriage of Me and My Wife as the officiate
  • Lives in Denton TX, has three daughters, and a lovely wife to keep him in check
  • Graduate of SMU in 2000 with a Masters in Divinity
  • Loves and listens to Christian Hip-Hop
  • Founder of Hang Time - a non-profit group in its infancy designed to get Christian men involved in the lives of Middle School and High School age students who do NOT have a stable father figure in their lives
***REMEMBER*** Reply with your interest level in being featured as well as questions for Mike (if you have any). I highly recommend you put him on the spot!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Photo Friday Frenzy - 04

Category: Panhandling

Intructions: Vote on your favorite photo of these four in the top left margin of this page. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to cast your vote.

Ninja Revenge Plan

Legless Kick to Face

Credit Cards Accepted

Klingon Reasoning

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I am not a scientist.  Nor am I any kind of expert on Big Bang or the currently prevailing multiverse theory.  I am just a regular guy with a Christian world view that has educated himself enough to have a basic discussion.  My research has led me to a remarkable understanding of what science used to claim compared to what is now claimed.  It seems what used to be a gulf of difference between atheist and theistic thought is now a much smaller gap.  We actually have very similar theories when you put pen to paper.

Differences of great importance DO still exist, of course.  The die-hard atheist will never concede a personal Creator that intends to hold His creation accountable.  And the die-hard believer in Christ will never concede that random chance brought us here.  But just how far apart are we?  What standards are your skeptics holding you to and are they obeying their own rules? 

In effort to answer those questions I took some time to put together a video presentation.  I invite you to watch and tell me what you think. So long as humans remain free-will agents...there will always be disagreements on this topic. Interestingly though (at least from this opinionated Christian) I am observing many scientific discoveries and advances that seem only to bolster a theistic world view.  I believe it a great and wonderful pursuit to use our scientific processes to learn about our world and that which lies beyond.  But there are more ways to experience life than through the strict adherence of scientific methodology. 

When a man attempts through logic and reason to rationalize his own existence, he rarely stops to consider why it is he can rationally think about anything in the first place.  This is the great error that most atheists commit by refusing to look outside of the naturalism box they so passionately cling to.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ice Road Commuters

I realize that it doesn't freeze over often enough for drivers to get the kind of practice necessary to be stellar at navigating the icy roads.  But that is where my compassion and understanding begin and end after being out on the roads for two days with crazy people!  Thankfully my dad's teaching combined with some common sense make me a decent ice road driver.  The ONLY scary thing about travelling the highways are the two types of people I've been encountering.

1. The timid who severely lack confidence.
2. The cocky who have way too much.

The former go WAY too slow cause bottle necks, unnecessary braking, and never have enough momentum to get up hills.  The latter must not see any ice on the roads and continue down I35 at 60 MPH only to end up in a ditch after side-swiping several other vehicles along the way.  So for what its are some tips and observations to help improve your icy commute.

MUST you go out? - This is the first thing to determine and I really want you to think about it.  You probably have enough food stuffs to last at least a week, you have running water, and even with rolling have power for a majority of the day.  If your job does not threaten to fire you for staying home or require that you perform a function that the world at large needs you at the helm for...STAY HOME.  I had to go in simply because our payroll has to be processed on Tuesday in order to pay everyone on Wednesday each week.  I have over 50 families that depend on their weekly income including my own.  I had to join the crazy folk and make the drive. 

Your car has GEARS - Did you know that even automatic transmissions have three gears for you to choose from?  Yes indeed...that is what Drive 1 and Drive 2 (D1 and D2) are on your shifting column.  And did you know that lower gears provide better power and function on ice?  Yes they do!  Think of D1 as first gear on a standard transmission.  You will only be able to go from 0 to around 15 without red lining the engine.  But it is a good gear to get your tires moving without spinning out.  If you ever get on a surface that looks safe to go faster, then shift to Drive 2 and realize that nothing over 30 MPH is recommended. 

Hills - Momentum is your friend.  If you have a hill coming up make sure you have enough speed built up to get to the top.  If you wait until halfway up the hill to hit the gas, you will spin the tires and get stuck or slide backwards.  Too fast...not good.  Too slow...not good.  Once you crest the top and begin the descent on the other side DO NOT hit your brakes.  Keep it in a very low gear and a light touch on the accelerator.

Brakes are BAD - Unless you are rolling to a stop very, very slowly and almost at a complete stand-still as it is try not to use your brakes at all!  Moving tires allow you to steer your vehicle and stay on the path.  The minute you decide its a good idea to hit brakes, your car will continue moving the direction you were travelling in but now it will be sliding.  At intersections give yourself 50 feet or more of downshifting with foot OFF the accelerator.  Then when almost at a crawl pump  the brakes until you come to a stop.  Even then allow for some room between you and the the car or intersection in front of you.  I cannot tell you how many times I've had to move up several feet because someone behind me started sliding toward my rear bumper. 

A Warning - Some of you have very good gear to navigate these conditions.  You have all wheel or front wheel drive.  You have a heavy vehicle with over-sized tires.  And you are voted most likely to be the over confident driver previously mentioned.  We are all jealous on most days of your ride but most especially in these conditions.  BUT...and this is where the warning comes in...if you end up stuck in a ditch or on a hill despite all the over confidence and the tow package...we 4 cylinder, sedan drivers will wave while laughing hysterically as we pass by! 

Oh how I MISS my Jeep Wrangler!