Saturday, January 25, 2014

That's a Wrap, 2013

The year came and went in a WHOOSH! My mind is overflowing with memories that will last a lifetime. The love I have for my wife only grew, my daughter is walking, talking, riding a bike, and expressing the many young opinions she has formulated. The Ryan home grew in love, and feels more settled with pictures and things on the walls. Definitely feels like home.

Emily continues to be an incredible resource to her financial firm, specializing in a couple key areas that helps her to be an invaluable asset to them. Being the expert that she is, she even recently trained a class of newly hired coworkers.

Thankfully, my lovely wife is able to work part time allowing her to spend more time with Molly. We have both come to realize the immense responsibility of parenting in 2013. Our behavior and our attitudes have a direct impact on our little girl. One funny moment last year was when Emily and Molly were in the car, and someone rudely cut off Emily. Emily proclaimed, "Gosh, lady!"  Molly has since yelled this out from time to time - without any comprehension of what this means. While this is one of the more humorous moments of her imitating us, it has served as a lesson that other actions and words will likewise be watched very closely.

Two year olds have about as much energy as exists within a black hole, and my little girl is no exception. Rather than being amazed that she needs a nap during the day, what is more amazing is that she doesn't require significantly more sleep! Let me tell you - if I ran around ... everywhere ... always performing various crafts, reading, jumping, randomly yelling and squealing, and having emotional breakdowns - I'd need to go to bed at 7:30pm too! The Bible tells us that children are a blessing, and it is a blessing that my wife and I now understand. The joy that our daughter brings to our lives is immense, and increases my love for God and His goodness towards me. Molly is already riding her bike that she got for Christmas! On day 1 she needed help peddling and steering. By day 2 she was peddling and steering (almost) completely by herself! By day 3, she was making her daddy jog beside her just to keep up =). I find myself looking forward to each stage of her life, just not the part where she meets another boy.

Last year was also the start to my new job at my firm. While I can't discuss any specifics here, I can say that the Lord helped me to succeed, doubling my goal for the year. I very much enjoy the work that I do, I have an amazing boss (which, those of you who know me know that this wasn't the case a couple years back), and get along with my coworkers.

In fact, the Lord blessed me with opportunities to discuss the gospel numerous times with a few of my coworkers (all during appropriate times, not interrupting work). My drive home each evening typically included a recap to my wife of that day's conversation(s). We talked about history, morality, ethics, worldviews and presuppositions, logic, astronomy, macro-evolution, human sexuality, marriage, the family, and a host of other subjects. By God's grace, I did my best to offer my take on each of these issues from a Christian perspective, which was admittedly strange for them to hear. All of this culminated at the end of the year - I asked two of my coworkers for their permission to write them a full presentation of the Christian faith, hopefully to spur further dialogue. It was not my intention for the presentation to be as long as it was - 24 pages - but I couldn't bring myself to shorten it, for the sake of clarity. My continued hope is that the Lord might delight in showing these coworkers, now my friends, the same grace He freely bestowed on me.

Gotta tell you though, not in my wildest dreams did I expect to have to deal with a drunk driving accident. But one day, unexpectedly, Emily called me after getting hit by a drunk driver. It was the guy's turn to carpool for a couple of other kids, none of which were buckled. The arm of the Lord protected my wife and daughter, Emily having escaped with nothing but whiplash. Thankfully, everyone in the other vehicle escaped unscathed. Our first car was totaled, thus resulting in a used 2012 Mazda 6, which is the nicest car we've ever owned. Emily is still going through physical therapy, but has improved greatly.

One Saturday afternoon in September, I received a knock on the door from a man and a woman, who wanted to invite me to an upcoming event at their church. Yes, they were Jehovah's Witnesses. That first day, we spoke on my front porch for more than an hour, and starting that afternoon I began brushing up on Watchtower theology for a conversation I scheduled for the following Saturday. I decided to not only brush up on the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses' organization), but also Koine Greek (New Testament Greek), the Trinity, and to work through the many relevant arguments that would likely come up in a conversation. I spent approximately 3 months studying and preparing during my meetings with them. I went through my first year Greek grammar for the second time, re-read James White's The Forgotten Trinity, also re-read Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses by Ron Rhodes, and worked through a host of issues with my good buddy, Gobbler (my professor in all things Greek). The final result of my studies was compiled in a spiral notebook, filled to the brim with my notes - if you're like me, it's enjoyable to look back over a project and see your progress and your thoughts along the way. There were three meetings that followed, and while I was unable to persuade them of the truth, my prayer is that the Spirit of Truth would convict them of the reality of God's triune existence.

Finally, I was able to get through some important books that have been on my list for years, many of which deserve a dedicated blog article, and you'll probably see these over the coming months: (1) Atlas Shrugged, (2) A Tale of Two Cities, (3) Great Expectations, (4) Rhetoric, Poetics and Logic by Aristotle, (5) Moby Dick, (6) The Three Musketeers, (7) The Panic of 1907, and (8) The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium.

There is so much more I could say, but will save more for later. For 2014, I have set some goals: working out, reading goals, Bible study goals, being more responsible with my time, being a better husband and father, and by God's free grace I hope to be a better Christian.

Thanks for reading,

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