About Our Family

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Tuscaloosa,, Alabama, United States
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

Monday, June 11, 2012


I'm fasting, but not the kind of fasting you would think.  I'm fasting from sharing my unsolicited opinions.  I am so very blessed to have been born in this democracy.  I can believe and/or say very close to anything I want to without fear of punishment or persecution.  I recently had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Sheena Iyengar speak. She has spent her life studying the effect of choices. Something she said struck a cord within me.  She said, "Just as the love of money can foster greed, so too can the love of choice foster powerlessness."  As I was pondering this statement, I felt the clear conviction that these words could also apply to the love of our own opinions.  How many times have I shared my opinion with someone, then thought they were foolish in their choice because they didn't follow MY advice?  I've thought, "How come no one listens to me?"  How have I gone 30 years without realizing that they didn't ask me for my opinion in the first place?  I have this innate desire to help others.  I feel that it is God given, but I have taken that gift and run with it!  I've been making the decisions about when, where, who and how to help.  This has led me to give advice where it's not always desired.  This is what I've discovered -  The love of your own opinions fosters foolishness.

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2)
I'm not saying that I won't still hold my own opinion in high regard for myself and my household, but I'm learning to guard who I share it with and under what circumstances.
Proverbs 10:19 says, "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise"?

"And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37

"He that keepest his mouth, keepest his life. He that opens his lips too wide shall bring on his own destruction." Proverbs 13:3
 Proverbs 18:13 “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”
I'm learning to analyze why I want to speak before I speak.  What is the desired result from my sharing?  How can I word an opinion so that it effectively communicates the truth that I wish to impart? 
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt."

 One of the things I've admired most about my husband is his ability to just listen.  I think listening is an art form.  It's something that takes practice to perfect.  I've spent my whole life talking, talking, talking and more talking, but now I'm realizing how important it is for me to practice the art of listening.  People who know me will probably think I'm angry - because, in the past, that's the only time I don't talk alot, but I'm not, I'm searching for peace and I'm finding much peace in the silence.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wounded Warriors Project and Leavellwood

I would just like to say how proud I am of my husband.  He has a heart of gold and such a generous spirit!  This past weekend, David and his business partner were asked to sponsor a dinner at the 1st Annual Justin Junkin Memorial Fishing Trip.  They cooked an amazing dinner for these guys!  I didn't even know they were doing the event until a few days before it happened.  He would die of embarrassment if he even knew I was bragging on him about this...but I know them well enough to know they probably didn't even hesitate to say "yes" when they were asked to do this event.  I am so blessed to have him as my husband and I'm so proud of him.  David asked if me and Ashlyn and Lindsey would like to come have dinner with everyone, so we headed out to Leavellwood Lodge. David's business partner has known the family that owns Leavellwood for many years and they've done events out there before, but I'd never gotten to go see it before.  I have to say it is breathtaking!  It is absolutely gorgeous and serene out there!  Here is their website if anyone is interested in checking out some photos or wants to book a hunting/fishing trip!

The fishing trip is part of the Wounded Warrior Project.  Please check out their website if you aren't familiar with the organization, but I think it is such a needed and worthy project.  Kudos to Leavellwood for putting on a fantastic event!!!  They had fishing pros come in (some from pretty far away) and take some of our nations heroes out fishing for the weekend.  The guys looked like they were having a great time and they all said they were learning a lot from the pros.  Anyone who knows me, knows I'm patriotic to the core.  I am so very grateful to live in this nation.  America may have it's flaws, but it is still the greatest nation in the world.  The only reason I'm able to even write this blog, to have my own opinions and share them freely is because of the MANY men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.  They protect me and ensure my continued freedom and I am truly grateful to them and their families.  I won't ever be able to say "Thank You" in enough ways.

This picture is blurry, but I had to share!  Ashlyn made a new little friend at dinner.  This is the daughter of Justin Junkin.  We got to get to know his wife (her name is Heather too) and his sweet parents and his adorable little girl.  She is really close to Ashlyn's age and they had so much fun playing together!  They gave hugs and held hands and shared toys and it was just adorable to watch!!!

The end of an era...

Recently, my dad asked me to attend a meeting with him at work where we discussed his Disability Leave of Absence and some other details regarding his future with the company he has worked with for last 33 years!  He has worked there for longer than I've been alive.  That's a freakin' LONG TIME!  I remember going to work with my dad on a few occasions when I was a kid.  I don't know how many times he explained his job to me before I finally began to understand what it was that he did.  Honestly, I still don't know the full spectrum, but I think I was a sophomore in high school before I even understood the basics.  I'm not a science or engineering person in any sense, so he would start explaining and I would get lost in the first 5 seconds.  One thing I remembered about going to work with him was, as we would approached the plant, you could see these huge cooling towers...they were magnificent and kind of scary-looking to me as a kid - they still are, even after all these years. Miller Steam Plant is owned and operated by Alabama Power.  They burn mainly coal, but also natural gas and fuel oil to produce steam.  The steam is used to power their generating units.  The units generate million of megawatt-hours of electrical power for Alabama.  I won't get into all their emissions, etc, etc.  I took these pictures knowing it's probably the last time anyone in our family will see these massive, man-made creations.  

As I was helping my Dad and Jacque pack up his office, I was consciously aware that the situation could have been very different today.  I could have been packing his office up without him.  I am so grateful that we were able to get my Dad to the hospital in time because he was so very sick.  Dad found a enlarged copy of a picture in his desk from the early days of working at the plant.  Scrolled across the top of the page in magic marker was "Magnificent 7".  Above the head of each man was a number in the order they had left the company.  With tears in his eyes, my dad wrote "End of an Era" above his head in the picture as he said, "I always said I'd be the last to go."  He's ok with not going back to work.  Even if he wasn't, he doesn't have much choice because the doctors won't give him medical clearance to return.  Dad is doing good.  He had an appointment with the Neurologist earlier in the week and they will be starting him on a new medication.  Although the inflammation from the Hepatic Encephalopathy has improved, there is still a continuing deterioration of the brain tissue so they are hoping to stop that so that his memory loss will stop getting worse.  Prayers would still be very appreciated!

My Big Girl Playing on the Playground

I had some still pictures, but I can't find them anywhere...I hope they didn't get deleted by accident - but I still have the video I took the other day of my little baby playing on the big toys at the preschool/church playground.  I was so amazed that she could play on what looked like such big kid toys!!!  Yet another reminder of how fast they grow up!!!

The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend this year we headed up to Decatur, Alabama (Point Mallard) to the Alabama Jubiliee Hot Air Balloon Classic.  Southern Dining Resources (David's company) had opted to be included as a concessions vendor at the event so they headed out on Thursday and didn't get home until late Sunday night (technically it was Monday morning...yeah,that late).  Since he was gone from home for so long, we decided to drive up there and enjoy the festivities and visit him when they weren't busy.  I knew the event had been going on for several years (actually their website says it is "the oldest hot-air balloon race in the mid-South, started in Decatur, Alabama in 1978"), but I had no idea how big it was.  There were a TON of people!!!  I don't recall ever seeing a hot air balloon up close and personal before - but I sure have now!!!  They had one balloon where the owners were letting you walk INSIDE the balloon part!  We (Me, Ashlyn and Lindsey) opted to stay outside the balloons, but you could touch the baskets and watch them inflate the balloons from less that 10 feet away (not totally sure that the correct term for how they make them look like balloons, but you know what I mean)!  It was a little warm that day, so we had Italian Ice (when will I learn to think like a mom and not get Cherry flavoring, but instead some other flavor that doesn't stain???), and took a couple breaks inside the air conditioned food trailers, but Ashlyn did pretty well for the most part!!!  She loved the bubble gun that Uncle Joe bought her to play with.  She finally figured out how to blow her own bubbles!  Of course, she could only blow them with the gun facing her, so they didn't get to fly far.  We didn't make it to the "Hot Air Balloon Glow".  Ashlyn was melting down (literally and figuratively I think) so we headed back to Tuscaloosa.  Definitely a fun family event and I'd like to try to make it again next year!


Our quirky little girl...

Ashlyn really and truly cracks me up at least once a day.  This morning was the "penguin walk" that had me in stitches.  I have to get a video of it to share.  It's hard to describe, but she shakes her little rear and pumps her little fists while she walks and it's quite hilarious...anyway...I'm sure some of the things I think are hilarious and cute are just normal stuff to people who are not Ashlyn's Mommy and Daddy, but this is our version of a scrapbook so onto documenting I go.

Since we live in the very heart of the South...I think it is very important to document my little booger's introduction to the world of RANCH DRESSING!  LOL!  She now officially loves Ranch dressing!  And just for the record...Daddy let's her have the occasional sip of SWEET TEA which she loves even more than Ranch Dressing (Mommy drinks unsweet, which is almost a crime in Alabama)!!!

Follow up to the last trip to the river...we got to the house and got all cleaned up and headed over to David's mom's house for dinner, but Ashlyn wouldn't budge unless she could bring her Radio Flyer Scoot and Zoom.  All these seasoned parents tell us to pick our battles and this one just wasn't worth fighting, so the Scoot and Zoom joined us for the car ride!  BTW - she also refused to let go of it in the car for the first 10 minutes of the ride...then it just got to heavy for her.  She's such a funny little chicky.

Ashlyn LOVES shoes...not she doesn't just like them...she LOVES them!!!  She can't wait to put her shoes on in the morning!!!  She sometimes wants to put them on with her PJ's.  She just recently figured out how to put Mommy's shoes on!  (She tried Daddy's, but his are just a bit to big!)  This was the first time she wore my shoes.  I was cooking dinner and she came clomping into the kitchen and I about doubled over in laughter!  She was so cute!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Our New Blog!

Welcome to the new Ryan Family Blog!  I ran out of storage space on the old blog.  I am intentionally picture heavy on some of my posts and I like it that way!  I'm just going to start where we left off...

I mentioned that we ended the "open house weekend" with a short trip to the river.  We took pictures with David's phone and he finally got a chance to email them to me.

 She LOVES the river!!!  She loves the sand and the water!  She's not totally crazy about the waves when they come in, but she moves on pretty quickly when they pass.