Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pointless late night ramblings

You know those times when you're really tired and you wanna go to bed so you can sleep but you just can't make yourself get in the bed?? Yep...that's happening. Right now. And it's 1 AM. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a poem when I should have been in bed, but not this time. (mainly because I just tried and what I came up with was crap) Instead, I've decided to pick out random objects in my room and voice my thoughts to them, as if I can talk to them. Which technically, I can. People would just think I'm strange, talking to inanimate objects and all. So naturally, it appeals to me. I late night ramblings to stuff in my room, as promised.

Girl Scout cookies: I like you a whole lot. Especially since you're Samoas. The other kinds are good, but you are definitely my favorite. :)

Candy cigarettes: I'm so glad I found you for only 19 cents at the gas station the other night. You bring back so many memories from childhood, and I'm sure I'll be seeing more of you in the near future.

Man-to-Man night ticket: Seeing you excites me, because I know you're going to get me some unlimited barbeque at Living Hope tomorrow night. Mmm.

Risk (the boardgame): I miss you friend. I haven't played with you in a while. I promise I'll change that soon.

Flip flops: Did I tell you I've started to call you my flippy-floppies? I got it from a song. I think it's a great nickname, so I hope you don't mind. But I'm glad I've been able to wear you a lot this week. I missed you.

Stamps: I bought a lot of you, and I don't mail stuff out that much. Hope you don't mind some quality time on my desk.

Lamp: You blew your bulb, and honestly I'm kinda mad at you right now. I'm too lazy/busy to get to the store to buy a new bulb, and I don't wanna steal one from the living room like last time, so I'm being forced to use that light on my ceiling that's attached to the fan. We don't get along too well...he just doesn't give off that comfortable, homey vibe you got going.

Red towels: I love you guys. All 10 of you. You bring so much school spirit to the room, and you remind me of so many things about WKU. You're the best.

Aladdin and Mr. Incredible: What up fellas? (judge me)

Bed: I like you a whole lot, and if it weren't considered illegal since you technically belong to College Suites and I would be stealing you, I would take you to Louisville to live with me when I move up there. You're just so comfortable, and I look forward to our time together every night.

This concludes this edition of Ryan's pointless late night ramblings.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A God who renews

Today was a really cool day at Living Hope- it was Spiritual Renewal Sunday. I honestly didn't know much about about it other than the fact that it was called Spiritual Renewal Sunday. However, I did know that this was something that the church leadership was very excited and passionate about, and a lot of prayer and preparation had gone into it. The church as a whole had been praying and fasting in preparation of this day for a while. When we allow God to move among us and speak to us, He does big things, and that is exactly what happened today. God spoke through the music and through the preaching, and I can honestly say that He refreshed me and renewed me today, and for that, I am so grateful.

One of the first few songs we sang was "Great is Thy Faithfulness", and as I was singing, some of the lyrics really stuck out to me. You know those moments where you're singing praises to God, and the Holy Spirit just grabs hold of you? It happened to me during that song. We were singing the first chorus, and I just got choked up. Lately when I pray, I've been following the ACTS prayer format- adore, confess, thanksgiving, and supplication. In the last week or two, I have really been focusing a lot on the adoration part, because it's something I know I don't do enough of. Our God is the creator, He sustains us and provides for us, He loves us unconditionally, He is faithful, and He wants to spend eternity with us. What about Him doesn't deserve our praise?? So, I have been focusing on praising Him and His many great attributes. Back to the point...we sang these words:
"Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!" As I sang those words, I was overcome with the realization of the truth of those simple lyrics. Each and every day, God provides us with a new day to enjoy, to live, and with which to serve Him. He provides for our every need, whether we realize it or not. He showers us with undeserved grace and mercy every day! God truly is a faithful God. I've sung those words who knows how many times, but I had never thought about what they really mean. As I realized all of this, I got teary eyed. (I've turned into an emotional guy, I won't lie to ya, haha.) God gripped me in that moment, and I could do nothing but praise Him.

It happened again when the choir sang their song, "You Are". When Benny explained the premise of the song, he told us to pay close attention and listen for the 30 different attributes and names of God that the song talked about. So I did. The choir sang, and as I listened and read the words on the screen, I was overcome with emotion again. I didn't get teary eyed this time, that I remember, but was overcome with overwhelming joy and excitement. As they listed off the different attributes, I had the realization that is exactly the kind of song we will someday be singing at the foot of God's throne, in the presence of our God himself. How cool is that??? We will forever praise our God for all that He is, all He does, all He has cool is that???? It was such a cool moment, and I really don't think words can explain what all I was feeling at the time. I started singing along to myself, and just embraced the moment.

I was really looking forward to the sermon because I had heard our guest preacher before at the men's retreat back in October. This man speaks with such a fire for God, and he really allows God to speak through him. Anyway, he preached from Philippians 3:10-14. From my understanding, the main point was that we are called into salvation and into service by God. When we are saved, God calls us to a new identity; we become holy children of God. When you're saved, you are also called into service. When God calls us into service, He calls us into action, into activity. When we're saved, Christ takes hold of our lives, and when he does that, he gives us a purpose. It's not always clear what that purpose is, but we are to pursue it as God leads, and our activity should reflect that purpose. Basically, God wants us to serve Him, so we need to get off of the sidelines. Too often, we'll let someone else in the church do the work for us, when we're supposed to be working along side of them. Our service is about God, NOT us. Many are guilty of serving because they want to make themselves look like a good Christian, and I'm guilty of that too...we all are. Serving is about glorifying God, not ourselves. And if you feel like you aren't qualified to serve, serve anyway. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. (somewhat of a Christian cliche, but a good one to remember) Whether you think you have the ability to serve or not, God can and will use you. Serving isn't about how big we are, but about how big our God is. Isn't that reassuring? Why should I care what others think of me when I serve? I should serve to bring the attention to God.

And as if that wasn't enough, God continued to move. When it was time for the invitation, it seemed like half of the congregation got up and got on their knees in front of the church in prayer before our God, and I heard it happened in the other two services as well. That was incredible to see. God moved in the lives of so many people this morning. Families, couples, friends, individuals, children, all praying to our God. It was such a beautiful site. As I watched, I prayed from my spot in the balcony, in awe of what our God is capable of. And the best part is, I know that there are no limits to what He can do- this was just an example!

Sorry for the lengthy post. I know that I probably rambled some and got a little repetitive, but I just really wanted to share what God showed me this morning and sometimes its hard to put it into words, ya know? Our God is incredible and it's so awesome to see Him move in the lives of so many.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The frustration that is UK basketball

UK's frustrating season finally came to and end today. In all likelihood, they will still get a bid to the NIT, but let's face it...compared to the NCAA, the season is over. And after 17 straight NCAA appearances, that's kind of hard to swallow. I honestly don't know what to think of this team. They obviously had the ability to win big games. They swept Tennessee and beat Auburn, which has surprisingly gotten really hot over the last few weeks. But, that same team, that started SEC play 5-0 mind you, split games with Florida, Vandy, and Georgia. How do you beat a team on their home floor by 20 and then get beat by that same team on your floor on senior night, with your NCAA tourney hopes on the line?? Just one of many questions UK fans have been asking all season. To add insult to injury, they were swept by South Carolina and lost 2 heartbreakers to LSU, the most recent of which came today in the SEC tourney. So the question that is on the minds of all UK fans is, what happens next?

Kentucky basketball is the most storied program in the history of the sport. 7 national championships, 13 Final Fours, 43 SEC regular season titles, 24 SEC Tournament titles, and the most wins out of any other program in NCAA history. We obviously, and rightfully, expect a lot from our teams. We haven't been to a Final Four since we own our last championship in 1998. It's been 11 years. This is the longest Final Four drought this program has had. Our last SEC tournament title came in 2003. (don't quote me on that, or the regular season titles, haha) The two times that come to mind where UK was even close to another Final Four were in 2001 and 2005. Both times, they were thwarted by Michigan State. We've had more 10 loss seasons in the last 11 years than ever before. It's been awhile since we've held on to a Top 25 ranking for more than a week. UK fans are hungry for the success we had gotten so used to in the 1990s. So what's the problem?

Many fans are quick to blame the coach. Tubby faced a lot of criticism in his final years at UK before he finally left for Minnesota, where the pressure is much less of an issue. Billy G is in his 2nd season as head coach, and he has quickly learned that this job comes with a LOT of pressure and expectations. Perhaps we're too hard on our coaches. They obviously want to do well. They want to win, and they want to have their turn at coaching UK to an 8th national title. But the vocal minority of our fans are sometimes beligerant and downright heartless when critiquing our coaches. Even when our team is winning and the coach is doing a good job, people are pointing fingers at him, blaming him for all of our problems.

Many fans blame the administration. Say what you want, but Mitch Barnhart has a done a lot for UK athletics. Our football team is no longer the joke of the SEC- they've won 3 straight bowl games. The baseball and tennis teams do well each season, and usually hold a Top 25 ranking, sometimes a Top 10. Women's basketball has done better in recent years, the cheerleaders continue to win national championships. (they're up to #17) But many fans call for his head on a platter because the men's basketball team has been down, compared to our high standards.

Many fans blame the players. THEY'RE HUMAN. UK fans treat our best players like royalty. Jodie Meeks. Patrick Patterson. These are kids who just wanna play basketball. Yeah, they're great athletes, but even Kobe and LeBron have off games. Give 'em a break. Being hailed as the best players at UK has to carry a lot of weight. Playing for UK isn't easy. You're always in the spotlight in this state...we love our basketball. Granted, I do believe that some players don't understand what playing for UK means. Little boys all across this state would do anything to wear that jersey with Kentucky across their chests...they dream about it. I did. Some players need to understand that it's a big deal to play for UK, but I think most of them do. What makes you think they like losing??

All of that said, maybe it's we, the fans, who are the problem? Yes, we know a lot about UK basketball. And yes, we do have a right to be frustrated when we're not doing so hot. But we put SO much pressure on our team and the people in charge. Fans will be the first ones to tell you that they aren't happy with the way things are going. Keep in mind, we aren't the ones making the plays and coaching the team. We often think we know best about who should play, but we don't see what happens in the locker rooms or in practice. We're the fans. Our job to is to cheer and SUPPORT our team, in good times and bad. In the last few years, the fans have gotten a not-so-good reputation. Many analysts blame us for running off Tubby. Fans of other programs often call us spoiled and arrogant. Is that what we've become? If not, we're on our way. However, a lot of our fans are immature.
Catspause, the biggest UK message board, is so frustrating. Our fans that post make fools of themselves and the rest of us. ESPN has even taken note of this; the board has gotten national exposure. Grow up people. We need to get behind our team and support them. Go ahead and be angry with what's happening with our program, but put the boys ahead of your emotions and opinions.

Now, all of that said, I'm not gonna place the blame on anyone. Yes, some things do have to change. But it's not my place to figure out what's wrong with Kentucky basketball. My job is to cheer my heart out for those guys on the floor. I'll let the higher ups make the decisions on what needs to be done. I can only hope they'll make the right decisions. I hope that our key players decide to come back for another year. I hope that next year, this program does turn around and really show some improvement. I'm not calling for a Final Four next year, although that would be freakin' awesome. I just wanna see us moving in the right direction. An SEC tourney title, a regular season title, a Sweet 16 berth...anything. I just wanna see the hard work of those guys pay off. GO BIG BLUE!!!

(Sorry for the lengthy rant. I just wanted to vent. And even though the Cats aren't in the NCAA, the TOPS are, and I am thrilled about that. I love it when my school makes it into the Big Dance and I hope they have the success they did last year. But, there are more important things than basketball. I know that most people who read this blog are fully aware of this, but I feel compelled to make that clear. Basketball is something that I enjoy and am clearly passionate about, but there are bigger things than the state of UK basketball and March Madness. Sadly, my passion and conviction for sharing the Gospel often pales in comparison to that other things, but all who know me know that Jesus Christ is the most important part of my life. Sharing His love, doing His will, and serving others in His name are much more important to me then sports. If anyone doesn't know who Jesus is or what He's about, please feel free to ask me. And for my brothers and sisters, keep me in check. Thanks, and God bless!!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Break!!

So it's Spring Break, and I'm at home in the good 'ol Ebreeze. (That's Etown for you non-natives.) This won't be a long post...just long enough to update you on my life. A longer post will not worry my friends.

I'm loving being at home and not having to worry about anything school related. And by not having to worry, I mean that I left anything related to any of my classes or the BCM in my apartment in BG, not to be seen again until I return. Ahh...freedom. And I started running this week. Weird, right? But I like it. And the TOPS won the Sunbelt Tournament and that means they're going Dancing for the 2nd year in a row...who's excited!?! And the weather has been freakin' up to 80 today. But tomorrow, in the 40's. Welcome to Kentucky. I did some apartment shopping in Louisville yesterday and finally nailed down the roommate situation. I think I may have found a place too, so that's exciting. I just have a lot to be thankful for right now...God is good!! And did I mention that it's Spring Break? :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A poem at 2 am

So I may regret this when I read it after I've slept, but I really wanted to get on here and write a poem after I've been awake for 19 hours going on only 4 hours of sleep. And I haven't posted in a while. So, here we go.....

Preface: If this poem is really dumb, and odds are it will be, I apologize. It will probably be funny (or not) in my head, and therefore you may think its dumb. So while I'm sorry, I also don't care. It's my blog and my poem, so there. I need to go to bed....

My 2 am Poem

I made an apple pie today. It was really yummy.
The weather is warmer and it makes me happy.
UK lost today, and that just made me sad.
They lost to Georgia, and that makes me sadder.
At least the pie was good!

I have a midterm tomorrow in my Histo lab.
It will be a tough one.
I probably should have studied more.
But at 2 am, I don't really care.
So there.

Spring Break is almost here.
And that makes me excited.
I'm going home to Etown, which doesn't have a beach.
I wanna go to a beach.
I like Spring Break.

I'm tired.
I need sleep.
Morning will come early.
But that's ok, because it's almost Spring Break.
I like Spring Break.

This 2 am poem is coming to a close.
Because Ryan is tired.
And this poem is really ridiculous and needs to be stopped.
So I'm stopping it.
And going to bed.

The End

I hope you enjoyed my poem. When I read this again after getting some rest, I'll join you in thinking that this was really dumb. However, it's also for your reading pleasure. So I hope you at least giggled as you read. Let's face it, it's not laugh out loud funny. But I hope my sleepy rambling gave you a grin. And I'm done. :)