Archive for redemption

Happy Birthday to Me! and Malcolm X, Kevin Garnett, Joey Ramone…

Posted in Birthday, Faith & Religion, Life, people, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Rick

…and Ho Chi Mihn, Pete Townsend and last, but not cute, Grace Jones!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

I used to be full of crap now I'm just full of Joy!

Today I celebrated birthday number 33! While my joints feel the effects of 33 years of too much stress my spirit has never felt more alive. I have a core of friends and family that love me for who I am, I have two incredible jobs, two precious children to love and develop, and I have the most wonderful marriage a person could hope for. I think back to mid February of 1996 when I effectively alienated everyone that meant anything to me and I was forced to evaluate the abysmal choices I’d made to that point and purpose to do something different going forward. At 18 years old my life was marked by deceit, selfishness and foolish pursuits. To shorten this epic, I recommitted my life and decision making to pursuing Jesus Christ and the will of God. I didn’t get it perfect but I sensed more of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my heart and the things I thought were important before that time didn’t seem as urgent or relevant any longer. At my lowest, I never felt God could forgive me for my transgressions or use me to do anything for Him or anyone else. I thought I was eternally sidelined. That turned out to be a lie from the pit of Hell. I realize now that the brokenness I experienced in my youth was fertile ground for God to begin His work of restoration in my life. I believed I could plot my own course to success and joy but that left me outcast and irrelevant. Living for Christ has afforded me joy, respect and purpose. I credit all that I am and all that I have to God and God alone. I firmly believe had I continued life under my own guidance I would not have a story of celebration to report today.

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).


Talent Kicks Character’s Butt Once Again!

Posted in Football, NFL, people, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2008 by Rick

Thank you Mike Brown! That is, Cincinnati Bengal team owner Micheal Brown. After making strides to change the image of his NFL team most noted for filling the Cincinnati police blotter than the Bengals’ win column, Brown decides to re-sign serial arrestee, wide receiver Chris Henry. Whether it’s gun charges, possession of marijuana, DUI or providing alcohol to minors Henry keeps the ‘Nati Blue Boys busy. His off field escapades lead to 3 suspensions in 2006 and an 8-game-whopper of a suspension in 2007 for violating the NFL’s conduct policy (only to be out-done by former West Virginia teammate Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones with a full season suspension). After an April 2008 assault arrest, owner Mike Brown stated “Chris Henry has forfeited his opportunity to pursue a career with the Bengals. His conduct can no longer be tolerated.” A seemingly mandatory move for an owner that wants to make-over his teams image. Thanks to key injuries to three of the Bengals’ receivers, including pro-bowlers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Brown returned to his own vomit and re-signed Chris “Can’t-get-right” Henry. Brown’s gesture sends a clear message of what’s most important to him. Alienating himself from coaches and good players…or winning, it’s hard to assess right now. Henry is in training camp and will return to the Bengals after serving a four game suspension for violating the conduct-blah-blah-blah….

I am in full support of people getting another chance and getting opportunities to redeem themselves. Besides, if God held me to the letter of the law for each of my transgressions I’d be doing life in purgatory right now. The Bengals gave Chris several opportunities to change and prove that he’s more than a privileged thug. He swiftly spit in their faces with more indiscretion. After his last assault arrest he was not remorseful. He tried to justify his actions by saying he mistakenly assaulted an 18 year old thinking he was a different guy that owed him money. He doesn’t deserve another opportunity with the Bengals organization. The fans, players and coaches deserve better.

This Chris Henry knows that

This Chris Henry knows that

THIS Chris Henry can get him out of anything!

THIS Chris Henry can get him out of anything!

So if you’re keeping score, chalk one up in the win column for talent and give a disapproving glare to character. Is dog fighting the only unforgivable sin in sports?

32!!! That’s A BIG Number!

Posted in Birthday, Concerts, Early Death, Music, parenthood with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by Rick

Okay so that may be relatively overstated. Unless you are younger than thirty, in which case I’m spot on. Truthfully, I’m fighting the sudden urge to not feel great about this birthday. It’s so weird when you’ve been conditioned as a kid to celebrate this day as if it’s the greatest day the world has ever seen, then you wake up on the thirty-second anniversary of your birth praying that someone other than your spouse and your mom remembers. When I get out of Self Central I realize that 32 is a true blessing from God and evidence of His sustaining grace. There was a time when I thought I’d be out of here much earlier at the hands of untamed pursuits of pleasure. I’ll never know how much longer I would have lasted had I continued my transgression trek but I’m glad God’s mercy granted me time to surrender and change lanes. I have seen His hand of judgment in my life and I thank Him for caring enough to wield it. God is good.

SO, with that In mind, on May 19th, 2008,  I  want to celebrate year number 32 on this beautiful blue marble by praising God for my incredible wife, my wonderful 15 month-old son Jaxon, my fetal daughter Ashlyn, an awesome mom and dad, three loyal younger brothers, a loving sister, two jobs that I love, and many other important yet innumerable blessings I don’t deserve.

Me and mom 32 years ago.

How does a 21 year old mom celebrate her son’s 3rd birthday in 1979? She takes him to see the Jackson Five w/ Natalie Cole. I can’t believe they let her bring me in that place!