The second in a two-part entry over the decision to name our daughter Emma Rosa.

May of 2017 was much different than May of 2016. I’d traded beer for coffee, wasted weekends for board game nights, and, in many ways, pain for joy. Best of all, I’d recently learned Paige and I were expecting our first child.

There was one other significant factor influencing my life at that point: Mere months before finding out that Paige was pregnant (and after 100+ “Never” listens and counting), I stumbled upon a book my mom had gifted me in 2015 called “The Grave Robber” by Mark Batterson.

The Grave Robber

“Ryan, I pray this book will inspire, enlighten, and open your heart and soul to God’s miracles and mysteries all around us! All my love, Mom”

We’re taking a slight step away from the origins of Emma’s name here, but this is important:

Emarosa’s lyrics spoke to me on a deeply emotional level and sparked an internal desire for change. “The Grave Robber”, both the book and the written words of Jesus Christ himself, took me the rest of the way – from a pit of despair to a renewed life redeemed by pure, unadulterated grace.

I was raised a Christian and considered myself one even during the worst of days, but I’d been greatly disconnected from the faith for quite some time. I’d let others’ opinions of what being a Christian meant influence my personal relationship with Christ and had made a conscious decision to distance myself from what I perceived to be a religion that was incompatible with the love I felt for all people.

What “The Grave Robber” helped me realize is that people will always impact the reputation of any organization or cause that they involve themselves with. Their influence matters, but my faith doesn’t depend on the actions of others. I wouldn’t stop listening to or loving Emarosa because I didn’t like or agree with some of their fans, so it’s insane to forgo a relationship with Jesus Christ because of other Christians. This realization was life-changing and is something I’ll expound upon in the future.

I’m Feeling Some Hope

The loves of my life.

Back to what you came here for: Paige and I couldn’t come up with a name for our soon-to-be McGuire. We went back and forth for months, sharing names that we liked but never any we loved. We eventually settled on Jude for a boy but were struggling desperately to come up with a girl’s name we could agree on.

Then it happened.

Paige and I were jamming to Emarosa on our way back from a summer trip to Dallas (which is funny considering the role Dallas played in my discovery of Emarosa’s awesomeness). I was reflecting on how much I liked Emarosa’s name, so I turned to Paige and half-seriously asked, “Since we can’t decide on a girl’s name, do you just want to call her Emma Rosa?” Paige laughed, thought for few seconds, and said, “Honestly, I kind of like it.” And it was settled.

We welcomed Emma Rosa McGuire into the world on December 13th, 2017.

Something happens when your child is born. There’s an immediate internal change, as if someone unlocks and opens a door within you that you’ve always known to be there but never given attention to. Within seconds, I went from a boy actively trying to get on track to a man with a clearly defined mission: love this girl with all your being.

That mission drives me to this day.

The first in a two-part entry over the decision to name our daughter Emma Rosa.

Warped Tour 2016 was going to be lit. Some of my favorite acts including Mayday Parade, Sleeping With Sirens, and Issues were going to be there. I was especially in love with Too Close To Touch, and their song, “Nerve Endings”, had been my #1 jam for months.

Nerve Endings

“‘Nerve Endings’ is about the internal conflict between an individual’s heart and mind. It’s about the feeling of desperation inside of yourself to regain clarity you once had. We wanted this video to truly make a bold statement and expose the darker side of unhealthy and destructive ways people cope with their vices.” – Keaton Pierce, Too Close To Touch Frontman, in a 2015 interview with Alternative Press

“Nerve Endings” resonated with me on a deep level. I had an adoring wife, a fairly cushy job that paid well (by 23-year-old standards), and a supportive circle of family and friends. I also had a penchant for self-destruction, a taste for alcohol in large quantities, and significant discontent with life. I’d been this way for a couple of years – living weekend to weekend, getting drunk out of my mind and generally making a fool of myself. Spending time on my hobbies didn’t feel good, success at work didn’t feel good, feeling good didn’t even feel good.

This chaotic cycle came to a head in May of 2016 when, in a single day, my drinking resulted in a missed lunch date with my wife and her family, the loss of $800 in a backroom blackjack game, a fight with the client I was drinking & betting with, and removal from the bar in which I’d gotten wasted – all before 4:00 PM. Something had to change and quickly.

Flash forward a month – my best friend, Blaze, and I drove to Dallas for Warped Tour the weekend of June 24th. It was especially hot the day of the show, so shortly after watching Issues knock their set out of the park, Blaze and I decided to catch some shade in the covered pavilion area to check out a band I’d previously heard but not really followed – Emarosa.

Emarosa’s set was pure, unbridled energy. Frontman Bradley Walden belted out track after track with a furious passion – I knew I was hooked when he climbed the backdrop of the stage and sung the majority of their last song while perched roughly 15 feet in the air.

After the set, Bradley announced that a limited number of copies of their upcoming album, 131, were available at their merch tent. I happily bought one intending to give it a whirl on the drive home to Odessa. I don’t think that album left my car’s CD player for a full year.

One track on the album stood out, in particular:

Never

THIS.

Since my standout day in May, I’d felt a tremendous amount of shame and guilt. Shame for having let my behavior and habits get so out of control that I could embarrass myself as publicly as I did. Shame that I wasn’t the son my parents had raised. Worst of all: shame that I wasn’t the husband that my beautiful wife, Paige, married or deserved.

In one song (lyrics here), Emarosa summed up:

  • The sorrow and guilt I felt – Verses 1 & 2
  • The second chance I hoped and asked for – Chorus
  • The second chance my wife granted – Verses 3 & 4
  • The redemption I desperately needed to make a reality – Verse 5

From the moment I heard the song, I made a concerted effort to become a man that Paige could be proud of. To become a man that she could raise a family with…

To be continued in “One Little One in Our Hands”.

This is my first blog post and, hopefully, a nice teaser of what to expect in the coming days/months/years. Obviously, asking for your time and attention is a big deal and I don’t take it lightly. If you’re reading this, you likely have some questions:

Who are you?

I’m honestly not sure. My name’s Ryan McGuire. I’m a husband, father, son, and Christ-follower. I’m 100% imperfect. Things get hazy beyond that, but hopefully the more I share, the more we’ll learn.

Why did you start this blog?

I’ve had a lot of experiences over my lifetime – good, bad, and everything in between. Just like you. I don’t have a strict agenda to follow with what I write here, but I intend on being as honest, raw, and forthcoming with information as possible. My wife is consistently baffled by my tendency to overshare with anyone and everyone, so this will serve as an outlet for me, a potential headache-reducer for her, and will hopefully resonate with you.

Who is this for?

Everyone and no one. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. I wish I could promise that you’ll agree with everything I write, but I can almost assure you that won’t be the case. And that’s a good thing. Disagreement leads to growth in perspective, so let’s embrace it.

Why “Work by Lamplight”?

My favorite setting to work in is a comfortably-sized desk under lamplight. There’s nothing quite like the soft lighting that a properly placed lamp can provide, not even natural light. Lamplight gets my creative juices flowing and I can pound out hours of work under its glow, especially if I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, cold beer, or glass bottle of Topo Chico within arm’s reach.

0219191511_HDR

My current setup.

What’s next?

These are topics floating at the forefront of my mind, so expect to see them sooner rather than later:

  • Entrepreneurial Depression
  • Why I Stopped Drinking Energy Drinks
  • Commendation v.s. Congratulations
  • Love v.s. Tolerance
  • Grave Expectations

There’s more, but that’ll do for now.

Thank you for giving this a chance. I hope the words I write speak to you so we can grow together. If there’s anything you’d like my opinion on, shoot me a message. Talk soon.