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Rock And Roll McDonalds

God Hates McDonalds #2 (by rycordell)

This week's theme over at PhotoFriday is Damaged.

This photo was taken last March near Galveston, Texas, seven months after Hurricane Ike struck. A few days before I took this photo, a good friend in Kansas called me up. He asked me one of my favorite questions, "You want to go on a road trip?" I would guess ninety percent of the time those words are uttered, I respond in the affirmative. The only reasons that would stop me is work schedules or the person has proven to be a horrible road companion in the past. This time it was a no-brainer. The only question I had was when and where? Well, he needed to make a trip down to Galveston to check out 1 Mission:Galveston and the possibility of taking his church's youth group down to help. Having some time on my hands, I told him I'd pack up the car and head west. A couple days we were on the road to the coast. I was shocked at the damage that remained when we arrived in the area. We lost count of the McDonald's sings that had been blown out. And while we joked about the damage to the golden arches, the destruction to homes was heartbreaking. At the same time, we met some amazing people who both were long time residents, as well as recent arrivals, who made it their mission to help rebuild the area around them.

It is amazing the good that mankind can do, when faced with adversity. It is something that we have seen on the news this past week. Sadly, it often takes disasters to really bring out the best in man. Sometimes, I wonder why we can't put our egos, selfishness, and attitudes away and help the less fortunate around us more often?

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Posted by Ryan at 00:16
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Now You Know How To Be Dumb

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Sure it is a great way to keep in touch with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the globe. At the same time, it is a little annoying being kept up to date with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the world. Some say there is a fine line between posting useless and useful information. I would say that line is that that narrow. Posting about big news like job promotions, major relationship status changes, interesting tales from an interesting life is cool. Posting the daily color of your child's poop, your weekly gripe with your ex, or your latest Farmville/Mafia War/Bejewled Blitz score is not cool.

I basically have a couple rules about my facebook viewing. I have hidden all major games and quizes. Also, I give most acquaintances two opportunities before they are hidden or droped altogether. If they start cluttering up my feed with stupidity, BOOM - the hide button. It is there, might as well use it for the good of humanity. Oh, and closer friends get a couple extra chances.

So to my friends on the Facebook, let this be your lesson. Before you copy and paste some status, think twice. The reason you might not be getting many comments could be that you have been blocked or hidden from most people's view.

Oh, and here is my favorite stupid comment of the week. It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or at least an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt with the arrow pointing straight up.

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Posted by Ryan at 14:19
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So This Is Christmas

It has been a while since I have posted. Mostly because my life has gone from one of world travel or wandering through the woods to one of a working every day for the man. And while I have a few interesting stories from between the punching of the time card, I do not think I can share too much, due to contractual obligations and privacy standards. You can read that as, "I'd tell you, but I would then have to kill you."

I'm hoping to toss stuff here a little more often than just the weekly photo, but I am not going to make any promises. In the world of Facebook status, Twitter overload, and the latest news on Tiger Woods, I wondered if my posts were just some more noise out there. But heck, it is my noise, and hopefully someone is reading and enjoying it. So the show must go on. Or at least stumble around now and then.

Today I give you this little gem I discovered on a cassette tape in my basement. It is the Christmas greetings from the radio station I could be heard on fifteen years ago. It made me laugh for many reasons when I discovered it. Some of my readers, if they are still coming back, might actually hear their own voices on the clip. And you might even recognize a few others, that is if you were into Christian contemporary music circa 1994. So, unless I post again in the next couple days, consider this my Christmas greeting to you all. In the words of Styper, "He is the reason for the season, He is the reason for today."

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Posted by Ryan at 18:41
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Here In My Car

Clouds and Car (by rycordell)

Vehicle is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. A couple years my friends laughed at me when I told them another friend was giving me his car. Not just any car, but a 1989 Toyota Camry. A car old enough, I could have been driving it when I got my license. Some were even betting that I would not make it across the state of California, let alone all the way back to Illinois. Well, over two years later, and many many miles down the road it still keeps on cruising. I recently had to replace the front tires after one blew, but such is life. While many would recommend never buying a car from a friend or relative, I would highly encourage accepting free cars. At least it has worked out well for me.

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Posted by Ryan at 00:09
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A Long Way Down The Holiday Road

Ah, Labor Day. Nothing like a holiday to make you really appreciate the fact you have not worked a day in the last two months. Just remember, the unemployed do not get days off. Luckily for me, I was able to make myself handy these last few days, as one of my friends from my Germany days needed someone to ride along to California. I told her to pick the route, and I would provide driving assistance, musical entertainment, as well as find a few places along the way to make the trip memorable.

So she picked a southern route with three overnight stops in Amarillo, Grand Canyon Village, and Las Vegas. Day one was basically a haul of a drive with little stopping. We did stop to see the second largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. Sadly we could not stay long due to the hundreds of mosquitoes that attacked us. A little later we found ourselves at the Big Texan, home of the famous 72 ounce steak. I could barely finish my twenty-one ounce steak, so I could not imagine attempting to down the ole 72.
Day two found the spray paint mentioned in the last post to find use as we visited the Cadillac Ranch. We left our marks, and then left the remaining spray paint for some Germans who were there checking out the place.
Later that day as we neared Flagstaff there was a stop I need to make. I wanted to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, just to Take It Easy.

A couple hours later, we stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon to watch the sunset. As we stood there, I overheard one lady say, "I can't wait to get back home and see how this looks on the computer." Dang, what has this world come to? We stand on the edge of a beautiful scene and think about how this will look on our digital picture frame. By the way, doesn't this look great on your computer?
The final night of the trip found us in Vegas. And while many hold to the old adage of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," I will tell you at least one thing. I not only got to see Penn & Teller, but got my photo with them after the show.
And yes, they have now joined Nelson in the small number of celebrities I have given bunny ears to in photos.

Now I am sitting in Los Angeles for the next week, hanging with some old friends, making some new ones, and enjoying a fine little rental car I got.

Currently listening to: The Cars -

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Posted by Ryan at 11:42
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Get Back Honkey Cat

So the other night, my friend Dave told me he wanted to see more posts here on my blog. Quantity, not quality was his request, if I remember correctly. In order to appease him, I give you a brief summery of yesterday.

It started off by seeing Dave and his family off to their various work and school responsibilities. An hour later, I was picked up by a former coworker from BFA. We headed over to the California Grill for some breakfast and catching up. It was good to be able to talk about our old days in Germany. The cool thing was that he also worked in Korea for a time, so we were able to exchange stories about our different Korean experiences. It was an encouraging morning.

At noon, I was heading to Angel Stadium of Anaheim to watch a battle between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It was a beautiful day at the park, and I was sitting closer to the action than I have ever been. It sure beat sitting in the very top row of Minute Maid Park last year. Plus I had my Nolan Ryan Angles jersey on, not as I am so much a fan of the team, but a fan of my name on baseball jerseys.
Good times were had in the stands, enjoying the game, talking baseball and life, and cheering on the Angels. Sadly, the Athletics took the lead. Fortunately, the Rally Monkey came out and boy that little primate did his job. Minutes after the Rally Monkey appeared, Juan Rivera hit a two run homer to seal the victory.

At dinner we celebrated the Thompson's anniversary with the help of George Forman and his fine grilling skills. A couple Marie Callender pies finished out the meal.

So I headed to bed thinking what a great day this had been. As I slid my feet into bed, I felt a little moistness. My first thought was I had left my towel on the bed in the morning. Sadly, I was incorrect. The best I could deduct was that one of the cats had decided to mark his territory. Actually, it was more like he got trapped in the room when the pressure mounted. Not wanting to wake anyone, I decided to sleep on the floor. Later in the night, I found my way to the couch.

Dave did tell me that it never happens with their cats, but then again, he sounded like one of those parents who say their kids never act that way, when their kid acts up. Actually, I think he has told me that too. Ha. And in order to keep my lodging safe, have I mentioned Dave's new website and podcast?

Currently listening to: Coldplay - Viva la Vida

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Posted by Ryan at 13:49
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Stick To Your Guns

Professional is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. Had to look though my photos to find someone/thing that looked professional. This photo of my friend Andrew was prefect. He took me to my first shooting range last summer. The guy not only was a great shot, but a great instructor. Guess it helps is in law enforcement. Although I think he was only being nice when he thought my shooting was good. That or I have spent way too many quarters on Virtual Cop at the arcade.

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Posted by Ryan at 00:20
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On The Road Again

I might not have had the best paying jobs in my life, but the vacation time has not been bad. I have been fortunate to have jobs that have allowed some good travel time during the summer months. The only downside is that my wanderlust is always wanting crazy adventures, fancy destinations, and epic journeys. Last year I was able to take a train from Beijing To Moscow with two good friends, and then spend a few weeks in Europe visiting friends. The question is how does one top that adventure?

I've decided the answer is a great American road trip. In the spirit of the The Muppet Movie, National Lampoon's Vacation, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and Long Way Round, I am hoping for some crazy adventures while seeing the country. The journey will be from Los Angeles, California to Marquette, Michigan, only stopping to visit friends and random road side attractions. Thanks to a good friend, I will be adding about four thousand miles to the odometer of a 1989 Toyota Camry wagon. There are no guarantees that the car will even make it, but my return flight to Korea departs from Marquette. That alone adds to the adventure that is ahead.

The Rough Itinerary:(Google Map of the trip)

June 25 - Arrive in Los Angeles, CA
June 30 - San Louis Obispo, CA
July 1 - Hume Lake, CA
July 3 - Fly to Ontario, CA and begin the drive east.
July 5 - Austin or College Station, TX
July 9 - Dallas, TX
July 11 - Siloam Springs, AR
July 14 - Springfield, MO
July 16 - Newton, KS
July 18 - Kansas City, KS or MO - still debating
July 21 - St. Louis, MO
July 22 - Morton, IL
July 24 - Janesville, WI
July 25 - Republic, MI
July 27 - Marquette, MI

So why should you care? A large part of this trip to reconnect with some friends. And since most of the people who read this blog are friends, that probably means you. If you are in or between any of these cities, drop me a comment or email and hopefully we can meet up. If you are on Facebook, there is a group dedicated to this trip, where you can be kept up to date. Speaking of date, if you are a single gal on the route, perhaps you can get a free meal out of the deal by filling out this application. Oh, and if anyone wants to go along for part of the trip, let me know. There is room in the wagon.

Well, I looking forward to seeing some of you out there on the open highway. Stories will be told, good times will be had, and memories will be made.

Currently listening to: Johnny Cash -

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Posted by Ryan at 00:41
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Through The Streets Of Europe

A couple weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to return to Europe for ten days. I went with the purpose of attending a conference for Christian educators and boarding staff. Fortunately my spring break lined up so I could get there early enough so I could get all my enjoyment out of the way before the meetings and sessions started. It was great to be able to walk along many of the paths I once wandered during my seven years there. It felt good to be able to still know my way around places like Annecy, Freiburg, or Laussane. Plus it was nice to be able to blend into the local population for a change. Heck, I even managed to get by with my limited German from time to time.
But the best part of the trip was the people. Sitting in one of my favorite churches listening to a great man of God preach. Being able to spend some time in the homes of some great friends. Sharing several meals with former coworkers. Listening to the plans and dreams of friends. While I know God has brought me to Korea at this point, I was glad he gave me an opportunity to return to reconnect.
One thing I heard at the conference was that there really are no coincidences, that God has a plan and order for all aspects of our lives. I saw this several times on the trip. For example, one day I decided to kill some time by heading into Lörrach for the afternoon. While wandering the streets, I bumped into some old friends I had hoped I would get the chance to see, but knew probably wouldn't. A few days while I took a break during some of the sessions, I walked into Lidl. Again, I bumped into some old friends who just the night before I was asking if they were around. I have had way too many things like this happen to just chalk it up to coincidence.

And I think it is those random events which are making it hard for me to fully plan my summer travels. Sometimes I hate having things set in stone. But if any of you are in America, especially between LA and Chicago and would be interested in a visit, drop me a comment, and perhaps you can help motive me to plan my trip.

Currently watching:

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Posted by Ryan at 13:20
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Ice Ice Baby

From time to time I find stuff online about friends of mine. And being the guy I am, I like to pass it on to the rest of you. This morning, I saw a link to the World Ice Art Championships. As I clicked it, I remembered how years ago at Miracle Camp, I worked with a guy named Jeff Stahl, who was an amazing ice carver and chef. So after a couple clicks, I discovered that he and his team finished second place this year. This joins their 4th place in 2006, 3rd in 2005, and 4th in 2004. He and his team even got a nice write up in the Chicago Tribune, complete with a video.

I'm telling you, it is pretty stinkin' cool what those guys can do with a whole lot of ice and some chainsaws. Be sure to check out their work.

Currently watching:

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Posted by Ryan at 23:14
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Hanging Out In The Donut Shop

I think it was the famous poet D.L. Roth who once said, "Give me a bottle of anything, and a glazed doughnut... to go." Following that line of thought, I woke up this morning, gathered a posse, and headed to the grand opening of the first Krispy Kreme in Taejon, South Korea.

We arrived shortly after eight, hoping to grab some of those sweet sugar rings and head back to campus. Unfortunately, we forgot to check opening time. The workers were busy wiping down seats, cleaning windows, and driving around their Segway. We thus assumed that around nine we would be released from our spot in the rain soaked line and allowed to enter into the promised land. Sometime around nine thirty we gave up hope on getting in during that hour.

Shortly around ten the activity picked up, as did the rain. All of a sudden the Star War's Main Theme began pouring out of the sound system. It was go time. The employees cut the donut decorated ribbon, confetti was shot out of cannons, the "Hot and Now" sign was illuminated, and the doors were finally opened. As we filed in, I was personally greeted by one of the employees with a hand shake and a, "Thanks for coming." But there was no time for chit-chat as we had a teacher that needed to be in class in a half hour. Not to mention donuts there were donuts to be consumed. So we grabbed over eleven dozen donuts and headed home.

And being the first Caucasian to consume a donut in the store wasn't enough for me. I had to go back to help with the closing of the store. Tonight we topped the evening off with a special birthday donut run. It was another chance to take some videos and photos, as well as to load up on more sugary goodness.

Well, it is now time to slip into a sugar induced coma. I think if I blew my nose hard enough Krispy Kreme glaze would come out right now.

Currently listening to: Tonic -

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Posted by Ryan at 09:26
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That Proves You Were There

Sometimes I get the feeling my life is more interesting than it really is. Sometimes that feeling is proven to be correct. In my defense I present to you the jury the following:

Traveling to a foreign country for a rock show is pretty sweet. Getting a mention on the band's website (and myspace blog too) is über amazing. At least in my book.

Although I must give some props to "Ashley from Alabama". Let's be honest, if it were just me talking to the band after the show, it would have said something about "some loner that was hanging around after the show like he had no where to go." Plus she is the one who discovered the concert's existence in the first place. If she didn't put the idea of rocking in Japan, I would have spent my time off probably cleaning my bathtub (which I'm doing after I post this) and going to see Eragon.

Now the question is what do I do next to up the interesting factor? Any suggestions?

Currently listening to: Calexico - Calexico - Garden Ruin

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Posted by Ryan at 05:48
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The Eastern Sea's So Blue

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel with four ladies to a rock show in Japan. Take a second to soak that all in, and then I'll break it down for you all.

It was a weekend of travel. It started with a two hour train ride to the southern shores of Korea. There we boarded a hydrofoil ferry for what would be a three hour tour. Upon disembarking in Japan, I had to try to explain to the customs agents why I was only spending twenty hours in his country (interestingly enough not the first time I've had this experience). Upon making it through the customs it was off to the bus to take us to downtown Fukuoka to begin the Japanese experience.
Yep, four females actually agreed to spend a portion of their weekend hanging with the one they call Cordell. Sure, this goes against a promise I made with myself eight years ago about traveling to a foreign country with that many women. I made that after an awkward trip to Paris and EuroDisney, and but felt it might be time to rethink that promise. And sure, it probably wasn't the opportunity to spend time with me, as it was going to a concert in a foreign country that was the hook, but this is my blog and I'll spin it however I want. Either way, it was me, four ladies, and a evening of music ahead.
Just like the old saying, "if the concert will not come to Ryan, Ryan must come to the concert." Since the concert offerings are a little limited in Korea, I chose to try another country to fulfill the need to rock and/or roll. I could have gone a day later and caught Boys II Men, but I felt the option of Calexico and Iron & Wine would be a far better choice. I was right. Unfortunately due to weather conditions, Iron & Wine didn't show up until the load out began. But that did allow Calexico to have the full stage for the whole night. They did not disappoint. For almost three hours they played a variety of songs from their collection. Those among us who had not known their material were immediately hooked. Personally, I was even more sold on their talents. I highly recommend anyone with at least one ear to see them in concert.
And to finish up the explanation of that first sentence, I repeat again, we went to Japan. This was my first real trip there, as the airport just doesn't count. I went with few expectations, including hoping to have a few "Lost In Translation" moments as I wandered the streets of Fukuoka. Outside of the concert time, I had a great time. From enjoying a great curry in a Shi Lankan restaurant to wandering the streets late at night or just all the people watching, the city provided a great experience and left me with a desire to return again. Hey look, Yo La Tengo there in February, and Muse is there in March. Hmmmm.

Plus, no one really avoided me like a psyched lone ranger, so I got that going for me.

Currently listening to: Calexico - "Drenched"

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Posted by Ryan at 06:28
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Out In The Frozen Air

Indoor urination is overrated. Yes my friends, I not only typed that, but I also believe it. I recently spent six days in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the closest thing to running water was me scooping water out of the frozen lake and carrying it into the cabin in containers as quickly as I could. Thus we tried to conserve on the water used to flush the toilet. And while trying to write your name or a short doctoral thesis depending on how much you've had to drink can be fun, I will tell you that ten degree Fahrenheit outhouse seats are not fun.
But I'm not just posting an update on my preferences in bladder depletion. Just thought I would get your attention first. See it was a grand time in the north woods. A couple good friends and I enjoyed a few quality days of rest, cards, pyromania, storytelling, and attempts at global domination on the Risk board. It was so relaxing that we used one of these to measure the time spent. In fact I think a couple days began for us when the clock said half past whatever day it was.
Speaking of pyromania, yet again I came very close to a major injury due to a firework. But that is another story for another time. Even the eight hour drive there and back was highly enjoyable, although it was a sad drive out of the woods knowing it meant heading back to the responsibilities of life again. Oh, the responsibilities of life...

Currently listening to: Five for Fighting - Two Lights

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Posted by Ryan at 03:40
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Dare To Be Stupid

I did not get a minor in camping in college just to impress the ladies. No, I'm a big fan of summer camps and the impact on youth that they can have. And in my years of working at camps on three different continents, I have worked with some pretty amazing people. Although I have to admit, many of them are also slightly crazy.

Take for example this summer. After snack time there remained a large bowl full of liquid waste. It contained ramen, Oreo cereal, fruit loops, and various sodas that the young campers could not finish. Someone suggested that one of the staff stick their head in it for some cash. Before we knew it, a joke was becoming a reality.

Now you the home viewer can enjoy this brief moment in my summer, thanks to Google Video and Sweatshop.

Currently listening to: Beck -

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Posted by Ryan at 10:56
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I'm A Friend Of A Friend Of A Friend

This week's theme at PhotoFriday is "Friend."

If a friend will cross the street to hang out... a great friend will travel halfway across the globe in a train car with you just for the heck of it.

Currently reading:

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Posted by Ryan at 09:35
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Takes More Than Combat Gear

It was a great trip around this big blue sphere
At times I felt like I was living in the wild frontier.
In a meseum in Siberia we saw a musk deer.
Some girls on the train had way too much beer,
But at least they didn't drink with the engineer.
I'll admit a couple times on the trip I had some fear
Like once when my mind told me my end was near,
But it didn't happen, as you can see that I am here.
I am back to work as the school begins another year
Which from some students will not cause a cheer.
I think a friend of mine has one really cool career
He just won a major award for making things disappear.
Here is a video of two guys hacking with Lenin in the rear....

Currently listening to: Dolly Varden -

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Posted by Ryan at 06:05
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A Lifetime's Not Too Long

I blame Dave for this post... He was suckered into doing one of those "list up to ten things you want to say to ten different friends... Do not state who these people are. Do not confirm or deny any 'comment speculation' ...Then tag five people" things that spread around the blog world. And since I probably haven't blogged enough about some of my friends, I thought I would join in the fun. Although perhaps not fully, so there might not be ten. So here are my comments on some of the people who have help make me a better person on this planet.

1. We need to do another road trip, as the last one was too long ago. You can always make me laugh. Yet your words have also been a source of challenge and inspiration (I'm glad that they are downloadable too). I knew you would make a big impact on this world, which is why I helped you with stalker awareness training. While our paths might not cross now, I know someday they will again. Marx said it best, "Now and forever, I will be your man."

2. Your name can be found in some of my favorite dorm stories, as well as a few of the best travel stories. You set the bar high for all my future coworkers to live up to. The kids we worked with are not the only ones who are better people by having you in their world.

3. If we had not signed up for that missions trip we might not be the friends we are. It was the beginning of many humourous and great experiences. I treasure the many discussions we had over food and/or drinks. I am honoured to have been a small part of your wedding. It was only fitting that the last time we saw each other was for the "Old Friends" concert.

4. You taught me that every day is a gift, and should be used accordingly. (Yet how often do I forget that?) Nothing held you back. I miss the conversations we had while trying to prevent each other from world domination. I know our next visit will be heavenly.

5. When we first met, I didn't know what exactly to say to you. Now there is little that we have not talked about. You taught me not to give up and to not let anything stand in your way. Seeing how your faith got you through the good and the bad, has been an encouragement to me, and many others. Oh, and I blame you partially for my music collection. Can you believe it has been eighteen years?

6. Did my parents put you up for adoption? For you could easily be a brother of mine. I don't know where I would be without your advice. Nor do I know where I would be with some of your advice. Yeah, I pick and choose from what you tell me. Either way you have been a great sounding board. If I ever become a superhero, I've already decided you will be my sidekick. We need to dance down Main Street USA again soon.

7. You have said you are a bad friend. But I'll take your bad friendship over most of the people who have claimed to be good friends. Your love for the Lord and desire to serve him is contagious. And that is part of the reason I enjoy our time together. I'm still trying to figure out the other reasons I call you friend.

8. If I were picking an all star RA team you would be on it, although you might have to serve as the mascot too. You've poured your heart out into kids, even when you known some will let you down again. "As iron sharpens iron," is the phrase I think of when looking back at our time together.

9. When you volunteered to house the missionary, I bet you didn't expect he would move in. You shared your home, your friends, and your life with me. You continue to play a key role in my life, and I look forward the next time I crash on your sofa. Sometimes I think I was a fool to pass up the chance to work and minister alongside of you.

Ok, I'm going to stop there. As I've worked on this for a couple days, I've noticed that many of these could be about a several friends of mine, minus a sentence or two. So if you don't feel like you are on the list, just read the lines that apply to you. I could fill books writing about all the people who have gotten me to where I am. I'm blessed to have such a great cloud of witnesses.

As for tagging someone else... if you think you were mentioned above follow my lead and post a list. If you think I left you off, make your own list and leave me off it to teach me a lesson or two. Either way, leave a comment on your way out...

Song to go with this post: Stryper - Friends

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Posted by Ryan at 23:45
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The Property of Jesus

So Friday night rolled around, and I kicked it off by cleaning my apartment. Gave the place a thorough scrub down, to the point that the phrase, "I could eat off that," passed through my head.

Luckily for me, I was going out with a couple friends for a late dinner. We had decided to check out a place rumored to have decent hamburgers. During our time out we encountered a fellow foreigner who was curious why three guys were not drinking alcohol on a Friday night. We explained a little about where we worked, and that we all made agreements when we were hired that we would not consume alcohol. As he walked away he exclaimed, "Jesus, who is your recruiter?" I quickly said to my friends, "I guess in some ways, Jesus was my recruiter."

Thanks folks, I'll be here all week. Try the chicken.

Currently drinking:

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Posted by Ryan at 22:32
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No April Rain

Well, actually last night as I was just about to fall asleep, a fierce storm hit the city. I stood at my window watching the lightening criss cross the sky, and marveling at the power of nature. I remembered how much I miss a really good thunderstorm.

Today I feel the need to give some long distance dedications to a couple great friends who have made me a better person. And both of them celebrate birthdays this week. Something about great men born in the latter part of April...

One is my friend Ron, who I've mentioned here before. Two of my greatest road trips involved him. One was heading out to spend a week visiting him in California. The other was a trip to show him the Midwest, including a stop to "gawk at the Amish." I highly recommend adding his sermons to your podcasts. Good stuff!

The other is my friend Aaron, who I was in a couple bands together with. He continued with the music industry, while I decided to work my way around the world. And to keep with the driving memories... during our senior year we were in a Youth For Christ band. When ever it was my time to drive, I had a bad habit of leaving the heat off. It became a game to see how long it took Aaron to yell at me about the heat, or to just turn it on himself. Ah, good times.

And I end wishing you a Happy National High Five Day!

Currently listening to: Edwin McCain -

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Posted by Ryan at 12:14
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Running Up That Hill

I'll be the first to admit that waking up in the morning and running a marathon just isn't my idea of fun. The thought of doing that six times in a week would make me consider my sanity. Toss the idea of doing this crazy running in the Sahara desert and I personally would be begging for mercy.

But that is just what two of my friends are doing right now. Albert and Mattheiu are out running the Marathon des Sables. It is a 243 kilometer race across the Saraha that goes from April 7-13. If that is not crazy enough, each runner has to carry all the supplies they need for the race, only to be supplied extra water at each check point. This explains why they are asking people to pray for them on this adventure.

Both of these guys are doing it to raise money and awareness for medical ministries in India and Nigeria, so I would encourage you to check out their individual blogs. And if you want you can even drop them a note. (They are number 282 and 299).

Did I mention that the next stage they run is double the distance? They will be running 82 kilometers in a day. Heck, I haven't even driven that far in a while.

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Posted by Ryan at 19:54
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Dancing On The Valentine

Two years ago I tossed out a Valentine's Day Song I help write with a couple guys, including a member of the Battle Creek Crunch. This year, I give you a really bad poem with extra cheese. Enjoy!

It is February 14th which is Valentine's Day,
One of the celebrations I wish would go away.
It is not that I'm too cheap to buy a bouquet,
But if you ask two of my ex-girlfriends to say
They would tell you around this holiday I sent them on their way
As the relationships had gone into some form of dismay.
I am sorry to say I used the "lets be friends" cliche.
Have I told when I got in trouble for yelling, "I'm not gay?"

Now don't get me wrong, for some girl to love I do pray
I hope I find her before my hair starts to turn gray.
Even if it all falls out I'll never wear a toupee.
To find her must I travel to the city of Bombay,
Should I make another trip over the Strait of Calais?
At this point I don't care if she is from Green Bay.
When we are together all will be right under the Milky Way
That is as long as she doesn't make me take up ballet
And bore me instructing me in the ways of Piaget
If she is lucky she can ride with me to see Coldplay
Or stay home and watch the Office with Ricky Gervais.

BTW, if you know a nice girl who will not betray
Tell her to fill out this form, okay?

Currently listening to: The Kelly Family -

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Posted by Ryan at 21:39
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